The Arsenal Of Democracy Fly-Over of Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World World II, is an impressive display in so many ways. It shows the brilliance of the aviation hardware that America brought to bear on the Axis powers during the war, a fight that took place many thousands of miles away from home. Aircraft, and the people who designed, built, flew, and supported them, got us there, both literally and otherwise. And the existence of pristine, flyable examples of this hardware, is a testament to those who restore, fly and support them today, and to those who contribute to the cause, which is an expensive one.
World War II was the crucible for modern aviation. Before it, aircraft were still fundamentally primitive machines. And they were few in number. Over the course of the war, which lasted roughly six years, the United States, which had around 3,000 aircraft in its fleets before Pearl Harbor, manufactured approximately 300,000 aircraft, everything from small liaison aircraft to the biggest bombers, for bringing the battle to the farthest corners of the world. Without the involvement of the United States and its ability to mobilize such military might, there’s no telling how much more terrible the war could have been and what long-lasting damage the efforts of Hitler’s war on Europe and Japan’s war on the United States, China, and the Pacific would have brought. The sacrifice of the nation at a time of national crisis continues to inspire.