Nine area veterans, including two from Wilsonville, took turns a passengers, soaring through the skies in a World War II-era biplane on August 18.
The event was made possible through the coordinated efforts of Vital Life Foundation and the Ageless Aviation Dream. Plane rides took off from Aurora Airport and lasted an average of 30 minutes for each veteran, whose ages ranged from 72 to 96. Marquis Companies founded Vital Life Foundation to create opportunities for seniors.
Marquis Wilsonville Assisted Living residents Joe Rolisen and John Bogen took their turns going up in the biplane. Joe Rolisen (92) served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1945. John Bogen (91) served in the U.S. Air Force from 1944-1946. Both men hail from Wilsonville.
The veterans also ate lunch, listened to live music, and enjoyed a color guard ceremony by local Boy Scouts.
Spirit of ’45 is an All-American-style summer community event honoring senior veterans to celebrate the end of World War II. It’s a tribute of joy, tears, and gratitude for our nation’s heroes who lived, served and sometimes died to protect our country. Each year, hundreds of veterans, family members, friends and community residents gather at Aurora State Airport near Portland, Oregon, for a commemorative ceremony, inspirational speeches, surprise activities and an All-American picnic lunch. Through a partnership with Dream Flights, veterans ride in a vintage Boeing Stearman biplane.