The hype for this year’s presidential election and control of both Houses of Congress is already at a high pitch and the election isn’t until Nov. 3. But there are a couple of other dates on the 2020 calendar that are significant to remember because they represent a time in U.S. history that made the upcoming vote in a free democracy possible.

On May 8, 1945, Germany unconditionally surrendered. On Aug. 14, 1945, the Empire of Japan unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Powers, which included the United States of America. The two surrenders meant the end of World War II, the greatest conflict in modern history.

As the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII draws near, a grassroots organization in Michigan is making plans to make sure Michigan’s “Greatest Generation” is remembered. Yankee Air Museum, and others with similar interest, are preparing for the two anniversary celebrations. The national commemoration of these historic events includes a flyover of Washington, D.C. on May 8 by a huge armada of WWII aircraft. The Yankee Air Museum will be sending WWII historic aircraft to represent Michigan.

A recent edition of the Michigan Legionnaire & Auxiliary published a list of some of the preliminary plans in the making.

The publication pointed out that Michigan was the “Arsenal of Democracy” during the war and the automotive industry was its heart. A special focus on the famed Willow Run bomber plant, which changed the techniques of aircraft manufacturing forever, is a natural takeoff runway for the celebration. The Willow Run plant rolled out one B-24 Bomber per hour during the war, an astonishing number when considering the components and related pieces of material that went into building the bomber, which helped turn the tide in favor of the U.S. and its Allies. Yankee Air Museum is located on the grounds of the famous Willow Run Airport.

To let the American public know what is in the making, the May 15 weekend will include a meet-and-greet at the museum in the early evening hours. A curator will answer questions regarding artifacts selected for display. Pilots will talk about flying the vintage WWII aircraft. Band conductors will discuss the music of the era, and people well-versed in the aspects of the war will be on hand to answer questions.

Much more will take place at the Willows Run Airport. The museum will sponsor adventure rides on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the North American B-25 Mitchell bombers.

We expect all 50 states will chart impressive programs during the 75th anniversary celebrations. Newspapers will be producing anniversary specials, and television documentaries will reflect on the victory celebrations that rocked the country in every town, village, city and remote outpost across the nation.

Stay tuned to the celebration activities taking place and make sure you vote on Nov. 3 to express your gratitude for living in a country that features a free democracy.