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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedInternational Parade honors Flight 1549 crew
By James Wynbrandt, EAA AirVenture Today

August 1, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - The annual International Visitors Parade is always a major celebration. Yesterday it took on a hint of ceremony when the participants presented Appreciation Awards to a pair of U.S. aviators internationally recognized as heroes, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, the pilots of US Airways Flight 1549.

“We know you’re national heroes,” said Claudio Candiota of Brazil, an Oshkosh visitor since 1982 who proposed the international recognition. “We want you to know you’re international heroes, too.”

 “Welcome to Oshkosh,” Sullenberger said in accepting his award. “You’ve probably already figured this is the center of the love of aviation in the U.S. and probably around the world.”

Sullenberger spoke from the second floor deck at the conclusion of the International Visitors Parade, addressing hundreds of visitors from around the world lined up behind their flags.

“Jeff and I are here as a team because on January 15th we worked as a team.”

The message of being part of a team resonates strongly with the thousands of visitors from around the world who attend AirVenture every year, becoming members of the global team of aviation enthusiasts.

Photo by Jim Labre

Before the presentation to Sullenberger and Skiles, IVT Vice Chairman Margaret Koskinen, who has volunteered at the tent for 32 years, thanked the paraders for coming to Oshkosh from points all over the globe.

“We love helping you,” Koskinen told the crowd. And it was clear the crowd loves Oshkosh. Roman Vdovin, a member of the Russian Olympic boxing team, the standard bearer for his country’s flag, is attending his first AirVenture.

“I love airplanes, and flying, and the sky,” he said through a translator.

And he plans to return.

The IVT, located adjacent to the control tower at the corner of Knapp Street Road and Waukau Street, has about 30 volunteer translators who together can translate some 30 languages. At 89 years old, Sylvia Fisher, who speaks six languages, is serving in her 29th year as a volunteer. In addition to offering translation help, the IVT gives international visitors a place to meet and relax during the day. And the international visitors help make the fly-in a global celebration that transcends nationalities.

As First Officer Skiles said in accepting his award, “As aviators, we know no borders.”

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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