FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AFA Welcomes Lufthansa's "Berlin Airlift" for 60th Anniversary
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today welcomed the announcement that Germany’s biggest airline, Lufthansa – at AFA’s request – will commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift on May 27th by flying 28 U.S. veterans and their wives to the Berlin International Air Show (ILA 2008) for a special ceremony and celebration.
Lt. General Michael M. Dunn USAF (ret) and President of the Air Force Association suggested the commemorative flights and lauded the bravery and monumental effort of the allied aircrews who in 1948-49 preserved the lives of 2 million Berliners, and today expressed AFA’s appreciation for Lufthansa’s efforts.
Moved by the understanding that the Berlin Airlift remains one of the world's greatest humanitarian efforts of all time and the fact that many adults in Berlin owe their lives to these brave airmen, Mr. Thomas Kropp, Senior Vice President of Lufthansa said in his response to General Dunn, "This 60th anniversary is a reminder of the strong ties that continue to bind Germany and the U.S., and Lufthansa is honored to do its part in bringing these distinguished veterans together and welcoming them in the City of Berlin as they celebrate this historic occasion.". General Dunn expressed his deep appreciation to Lufthansa for its generosity.
General Dunn said of the veterans, “When they were called upon by their country to save Berlin, they answered the call without question,” Dunn said of the Berlin Airlift pilots and crews. “They flew their unarmed C-47s and C-54s around the clock, at paper-thin intervals, and often under the most horrendous weather conditions. They did all this under the constant threat of attack. Yet they did not falter. Thirty-one of these young men laid down their lives to save the people of Berlin. These aging airmen are to be honored at this 60th Anniversary of this historic event for their unstinting service to Germany and the U.S. None deserve our gratitude more. They were heroes then, they are heroes now and they will remain heroes to all those who cherish freedom.”
The Berlin International Air Show, managed by Messe Berlin, expects Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, US Ambassador to Germany William R. Timken, USAF vice Chief of Staff General Duncan McNabb, and the “Chocolate Bomber” Col. Gail Halverson among others to open the show with a brief event in honor of the Veterans of the Berlin Airlift. In addition to the opening ceremony, many other airlift events are planned including daily commemorative flights of the C-47s and C-17 (“Spirit of Berlin”), Meet-the-Veterans-Sessions, band music and an invitation only reception in honor of the veteran aircrews. All show attendees are welcome to participate in these events.
About Lufthansa: One of the world’s largest airlines, Lufthansa flies to 207 destinations in 81 countries, including 22 North American gateways. Lufthansa has hubs in Munich, Frankfurt, and, with its 2005 acquisition of SWISS into its portfolio, Zurich. Together with its partners, Lufthansa serves 416 destinations in approximately 100 countries. An industry innovator, Lufthansa has long been committed to environment protection and sustainability, operating the most technically-advanced and fuel-efficient fleet in the world. Lufthansa will be the largest European operator of the Airbus A380 and the launch customer for the new Boeing 747-8, the industries’ two most fuel-efficient passenger aircraft. For more information or reservations, go to www.lufthansa.com
About the Air Force Association: The Air Force Association educates the public about the critical role of aerospace power in the defense of our nation; advocates aerospace power and a strong national defense; and supports the United States Air Force and the Air Force Family.
About Messe Berlin: Messe Berlin is a service company specializing in the organization of regional, national, and international trade shows, exhibitions, and conventions. With a program of nearly 80 international trade events taking place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds each year, Messe Berlin ranks as one of the world's top ten exhibition companies. The trade show and convention industry is a key economic factor in the Berlin-Brandenburg area. It attracts significant buying power and brings in additional tax revenues. Trade shows and conventions play an important part in Berlin's role as an international center of communications and commerce.
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