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Posted: Thursday September 8, 2011, 11:58 AM
By Becky Penhaker of The Record

The saying "Freedom is never free" rings all too true for many veterans. To honor them, the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey is hosting its annual Wings and Wheels Expo, "Salute to Veterans."

TOP GUNS: This family event has World War II airplanes and helicopters, as well as unique and antique airplanes, cars and military vehicles. The B-17 "Yankee Lady" will be providing 40-minute rides to West Point and back.

Special guests will include Russell Gackenbach, the navigator of the B-29 camera plane that photographed the atomic bomb explosion at Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and Bernice "Bee" Falk Haydu, a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II.

FAMILY FUN: Along with real-life heroes, a few comic-book heroes will attend — Batman and Robin with several Batmobiles, and the Green Hornet with his Black Beauty. Amelia Earhart will also be on hand with the Electra II, a plane featured in the movie "Amelia" and whose door was signed by actress Hilary Swank. Kids can also compete in a Big Wheel Race.

PAYING RESPECT: "I’m looking forward to the veterans getting recognition," says Chuck Howard, decorated Vietnam veteran and Aviation Hall of Fame volunteer. "Guests will gain an understanding for what these men, women and families go through. War is not a pretty thing."

Veterans and active-duty members will be admitted free; veterans are asked to wear their VFW and American Legion caps.

"The point is to make them visible, so that people might gain a greater realization of just how many veterans walk among them, anonymously, on a daily basis," Howard says.

DETAILS: 400 Fred Wehran Drive, Teterboro Airport. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. $12, seniors and children under 12 $7, children under 3 and veterans free. Information: 201-288-6344 or njahof.org/.

— Becky Penhaker

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