American Heroes Air Show


Annie Jiang and Ziming (Sarah) Wang

Each year, Veterans Day is dedicated to celebrating the veterans’ arduous work and giving tribute to all military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It is celebrated on Nov. 11, as the major fighting of WWI was officially over at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. 

Many events honor veterans, who are also referred to as “American Heroes”. One of the most famous local events is the American Heroes Air Show, which was hosted at Hansen Dam on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following its initial presentation in 1993 at the Santa Monica Airport, it has grown to successively instruct the public regarding the wide range of rotary-wing aviation capabilities. This has been accomplished by incorporating a variety of events, such as helicopter displays and new citizen ceremonies.

And yet, being an American Hero can relate to anyone who has contributed to the nation under any condition, not just those who serve in the armed forces. The new citizen ceremony at the start of the Air Show exemplifies diversity in the United States. Those who are qualified in getting an American citizenship have worked extremely hard to accomplish this step. 

It is important to emphasize the definition of “American Hero” so that everyone who has contributed in any way deserves to have such a title. For both future heroes and younger generations who are new to this country, the festival offers a variety of booths to encourage participation in becoming one. 

Holidays have reflected heroism. Similar to the veterans that have dedicated themselves to our country in the armed forces, 44 new citizens made a similar dedication to their new home country. 

Officer Guardado from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claimed the starting ceremony to be “absolutely essential” to all of the new citizens. The ceremony serves to both uphold what it means to be an  American Hero and involve more heroic participation, and she saw it as “an important event” for all the attendees that come from 22 different countries.

In a conversation with new citizens originally from Cambodia, who have been in the U.S. since war broke out in Cambodia in 1985, they expressed being “happy and excited” for this new step in their lives. 

At the booths, we had the honor to interview several organizations, including the Los Angeles School Police Department, which is often seen as underrated and was present for their own recruitment.

“As police, we sometimes get negative views from the community because of those minimum cases,” mentioned Officer Thompson. “But this event is so significant in bringing back the community to educate them that we are always there. We are important and we also need to give people like new citizens more opportunities.”

“As a young officer, talking to people is a great experience for our future impacts,” said Officer Moreno. “I have received many impacts on my life from the police, so we are all trying our best to be role models.”

We are very fortunate to have people with such dedication and drive in our law enforcement to better our community. Because of the backlash faced by the police in the past few years, Officer Moreno strives to restore the public’s perception of the police force. He stated that “we’re all human”, and that the police in no way have a higher standing than civilians. As the future generation, it will also be up to us to ensure the safety of our community.

For those aspiring to become future heroes, the Aviation Explorers program provides children and young adults with the opportunity to receive scholarships to aviation schools. The members are able to receive their own pilot licenses and interact with skilled trainers. Lisa Fusano, the secretary of Aviation Explorers, is passionate about helping kids achieve their dreams of flying.

“We sponsor kids from ages 14 to 21 with scholarships so that they can learn how to fly,” Fusano said. “And our scholarships [cover] half of their training, up to 6000 dollars. We have kids who get their private pilot license, but if they want to get into things like airplane mechanics or air traffic controllers, or any kind of aviation goal, that’s what we’re here for.”

Interacting with other students of similar interests and being able to practice in a real-time airport is a rare opportunity, calling out to all Arcadia High School (AHS) students interested in aviation!

Speaking of training and enrichment programs, what better way to learn independence, responsibility, and survival skills than joining the Sea Cadets? The purpose of this group is to train youths from ages 10 and up on the values of leadership and the fundamentals of life, allowing them to apply these skills in the future. Whether it’s skills regarding managing a group of people or serving in the military, children are able to benefit from all those essential skills when they become of age.

“Personally, I joined the program because I’ve been looking for a program like this, and you know the Marines is certainly not what I’m looking for,“ said Luis Sanchez, a member of the Sea Cadets. “When I got an email about the Sea Cadets I thought, ‘Hey, Dad, come with me to attend. I want to check these fellers out.’ And ever since I’ve been here.”

The Sea Cadets are diverse in their fields of training and are very strict in some aspects. Some of their training includes culinary skills, scuba diving, firearms, and intense medical training. When asked about what he learned in the program, Sanchez responded, “Discipline, absolutely discipline. Discipline and the value of friendship and leadership.”

In honor of Veterans Day, we also had the opportunity to interview Juan Cordera, a program support assistant for the Veterans Office, who himself is also a veteran. 

“I joined the army because of my friends and also myself looking for adventure,” Cordera expressed when asked about his own experience. “I have been fighting on front lines and training for years. My most memorable moment would be the final course of the boot camp. I was really tired and that moment was really hard, but we were all looking forward to the end.”

And what is the American Heroes Air Show without a vast display of aviation? Helicopters of different law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. military, Police Force, and News agencies provided the people of Los Angeles with a free experience of meeting the flight crews and learning about their careers. Visitors had the opportunity to go on the helicopters and see for themselves the structural integrity of the number one device used for important operations. 

In addition to displays on the ground, some helicopters also did stunts in the air. The sight of these aircraft was empowering, to say the least, and served as a reminder for all the hard-working who made sacrifices for our country.  

The term “American Heroes” refers to all those hard-working individuals who made contributions to our country. In honor of Veteran’s day and this extremely important event, we recognize all of our current and future American Heroes!