GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Each day we lose more and more of our World War Two veterans. Now, a movement is underway to preserve, mark and commemmorate unique sights in aviation history.
Long Island’s congressional delegation is backing a bill directing the government to preserve key sites and formally designate parts of Long Island as a unit of the National Parks Service, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“That federal designation would allow them to get funding and preserve the rich history, which is so criticial to the country’s history,” U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice said.
The bill designates three key sites: Bethpage, which was home to Grumman Aerospace, one of the largest manufacturers of planes during World War II; Republic Airport, formally known as Fairchild Flying Field in East Farmingdale; and Hempstead Plains, the “Cradle of Aviation,” which is home to three iconic airfields: Roosevelt Field, Mitchel Field and Curtiss Field.
Rice announced the bill at the Cradle Of Aviation Museum in Garden City on Thursday. She was accompanied by Jane Gilman, whose mother — Margaret Weber — served as a Women Airforce Service Pilot, or WASP, during World War Two.
“She was a tow target pilot , she would tow the targets the men would practice live artillery on,” Gilman said.
Garden City is also home to the site where the first U.S. Air Mail flight took off, leaving from the Nassau city bound for nearby Mineola. The short distance between the two villages — just a couple of miles–did not give the pilot enough time to land. The first U.S. Air Mail was literally dropped from this plane onto the roof of the Mineola post office.
The entire Long Island congressional delegation backs the national aviation bill.