|Flying the Flag to Kitty Hawk|
Madison, WI. October 17, 2003
By Rose M Dorcey
Recalling the pioneering spirit of Wisconsin's
earliest aviators, Eric Oxendorf is representing the State of Wisconsin in the
EAA-, Ford Motor Company- and National Park Service-sponsored "50 Flags
to Kitty Hawk" initiative. An EAA member from each state was selected to
fly their respective state flag to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in tribute to
the Wright Brothers and in recognition of aviation's valiant history and
ongoing worldwide impact. "50 Flags to Kitty Hawk" is part of EAA's
Countdown to Kitty Hawk program, created to commemorate the 100th anniversary
of powered flight.
The Milwaukee pilot flew to Madison, Wisconsin,
on October 17 to collect his valuable cargo; the Wisconsin State Flag and a
proclamation from Wisconsin Governor James Doyle. Wisconsin Department of
Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics representative Keith Gerard presented
Oxendorf with the materials, while state officials, Dane County Airport
management, and members of the media were on hand to record the event.
Oxendorf recalled several of Wisconsin's
aviation pioneers such as Steve Wittman, Billy Mitchell, and Richard Bong upon
accepting the items and said he felt privileged to represent Wisconsin and its
citizens. "Undoubtedly, I am taking the spirit and wonder of all the
pilots, citizens, and Wisconsin pioneers with me on this flight," said
Oxendorf. "They'll be sitting in the back seat, and riding on the wing
guiding me along to represent all of them at this great moment in Man's brief
history on planet Earth."
The Vietnam vet volunteered for the historic
mission because he loves the challenge and inner peace of flight. He wants to
continue the legacy of his great uncles and his father, as well as friends who
flew during peace or at war. His father was a member of the Army Air Corps,
while Oxendorf's two great uncles flew seaplanes in France in WWI.
A professional photographer, Oxendorf believes
that aviation is an exercise in freedom and in our rights as free people.
"Moving through the air, talking to no one, knowing the basic rules and
adhering to them, landing pretty much where you want. We can't let governments
take this away from us."