Vintage WWII Planes Soar Over National Mall to Mark V-E Day

D.C. stood still for nearly an hour Friday as thousands of people watched vintage military aircraft from World War II soar over the nation's capital. 

The planes flew at a low 1,000-foot altitude over the National Mall to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Hundreds of veterans gathered at the World War II Memorial to watch the historic event.

The aircraft flew in formations to represent the major battles of World War II.

About 30 minutes into the fly over, a Curtiss Helldiver made an emergency landing at Ronald Reagan National Airport because of mechanical problems. The plane landed safely, and was towed away.

Another one of the planes participating in the flyover was "FiFi," the only B-29 Superfortress still flying. The plane that dropped the atomic bomb was a B-29 Superfortress.

Lt. Col. Thomas "Bob" Vaucher came to D.C. all the way from New Jersey to see "FiFi." Vaucher was the first to fly a B-29 Superfortress at 38,000 feet, and he was thrilled to see the plane in the air again.

"In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't have ever thought that I'd be doing this at 96," Vaucher said.

Meanwhile, Kathy Samuelson came to the National Mall Friday to honor a very special veteran in her life.

"I'm about ready to break into tears for my dad," said Samuelson, whose father, Myles Hamilton, was a WWII pilot. 

Samuelson planned to take pictures of the planes for her 93-year-old father, who is back home in Columbus, Ohio.

"I always break into tears when I think about my dad working all those years for the war," she added. "Fortunately, he came home. He was not wounded."

ANOTHER AWESOME VIEW: Watch some of the WWII vintage planes fly over the Key Bridge. taken by News4 Photographer Chester Panzer

Posted by NBC Washington on Friday, May 8, 2015

In Georgetown, Martin's Tavern, which opened in 1933, will offer WWII veterans a free dinner and drinks Friday.

"When the war was over in 1945, there were lots of uniformed fellas in here, celebrating that the war was over," said Chrissy Gardner, of Martin's Tavern.

The V-E Day celebration stopped flights in and out of Reagan National Airport from 12:10 p.m. until 1 p.m.

On Saturday, many of the historic planes will be displayed at the National Air and Space Museum's facility in Virginia.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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