YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Local pilots are soaring over Pearl Harbor and historic battleships to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War II.
Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) honors the formal surrender on the battleship USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.
Local pilots Joe and Annie Fisher traveled to the island of Oahu, Hawaii bringing along a North American T-6 Texan 1954 vintage that Joe re-built after it was scrapped about 50 years ago.
"We got invited to this event because we have a T-6, and they were looking for World War II airplanes to fly over Pearl Harbor for VJ Day," Joe explained.
The U.S. Navy shipped the planes out of San Diego. Joe believes this is a significant milestone to reach 75 years.
"There are very few World War II veterans that are left," Joe said. "This is the last time we have to honor those who died and honor those who are still with us."
Tim Frank, a 25-year retired Marine out of Yuma, explains the flight plan and symbolic ships and landmarks they will be flying over.
"It's going to fly over USS Missouri, the battleship where the surrender declaration was signed," Frank stated. "And then over the Arizona memorial, which I know for all of our people there in Yuma is pretty important to us."
Frank is honored to be a part of this 75th commemoration and celebratory day in history because the war has important meaning to his family.
"My father was a World War II vet and he actually fought in the Pacific, so an opportunity to come and celebrate the victory over Japan here in Hawaii was an opportunity that I certainly wouldn't pass up," Frank said.
The Fisher's emphasize the importance of recognizing those who put their lives on the line to fight for our country.
"What Americans need to realize is freedom isn't free, and there's a lot of men and women that sacrifice their time and a lot of their lives for our freedom," Joe stated.
"It's just an honor to be here and commemorate the end of the war," Annie said.
Tune in tonight on 13 On Your Side at 4 p.m. to hear from April Hettinger about how the flight is honoring those men and women who made a sacrifice for Americans.