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Air show leaves lasting memories

By Staff
BLUE ANGELS A pair of Blue Angels entertains crowds at the Wings Over Meridian 2004 air show at Naval Air Station Meridian. Capt. Jeffrey K. Dickman, NAS Meridian commanding officer, estimated the crowd at more than 40,000 for both days. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
April 19, 2004
Sandra Crawford plans to turn her family's Sunday trip to the Wings Over Meridian 2004 air show into something she can use in the classroom at Oakland Heights Elementary School.
Crawford was among thousands who attended the two-day air show at Naval Air Station Meridian. Capt. Jeffrey K. Dickman, NAS Meridian commanding officer, estimated the crowd at more than 40,000 for both days.
Spectators sat in lawn chairs that lined a runway near one of the base's hangars and watched the world-famous Blue Angels and other pilots perform. Vendors hawked souvenirs, hot dogs, Cokes and other items.
Strong support
Dickman said he believes the air show was good for the Navy base and the surrounding community because people had a chance to visit NAS Meridian and see what the military is about.
Dickman said he was happy Meridian pulled together and made the show a success. The show had been in the works after another one planned for 2001 was canceled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Don Miles of Tuscaloosa brought his 4 year-old son, Trey, to see the Blue Angels one of the show's biggest and most popular attractions. But Trey was asleep for most of the show.
In addition to the food, fun and planes, the Navy, Marines and the Air National Guard used Wings Over Meridian as a recruiting tool.
Military recruiters
Sgt. Steve Braithwaite, a Marine recruiter at NAS Meridian, said he talked to a lot of people this weekend about a future in the military.
Lt. Joshua Striker, a Navy officer recruiter for the Naval Recruiting District in Montgomery, Ala., said he talked to about 150 people on Saturday who are interested in joining the Navy.
Striker said air shows are especially good to get young people interested in the military.

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