At Home in Flora, IL

The Silver Eagles performed at some airshows with huge crowds.  More than a million spectators watched as we performed over the Chicago lakefront in August 1976.  New York newspapers reported that our show at McGuire AFB, NJ, in May 1975 was seen by more than 300,000 spectators.  But it was often a lot more fun to perform at small show sites.  One such site was Flora, IL. 

We performed in Flora in 1975 and 1976.  In 1975 a local automobile dealer provided us about a dozen courtesy cars.  Each car was a new silver Pontiac Firebird, with a Silver Eagle patch on each door.  While we were in Flora team members were invited to visit in homes of local residents, utilize local clubs and lodges, and become members of the community.  

In 1976 the Flora show was the smallest we did in terms of performers and spectators.  Beside the team the show included the local Shriners’ Club performing in miniature cars and a radio control airplane club from a nearby town.  The total crowd was liberally estimated at 500.  

However, the success of a show cannot always be measured by the size of the crowd.  The evening following the show the team was invited to dinner by a local civic club.  Beside the team members there were about 50 people at the restaurant.  The meal was great, but the hospitality was overwhelming.

After dinner speakers included at least a dozen of the civic club’s members.  Each praised the team’s performance and thanked us for coming to Flora.  At the end of the evening the club president asked if anyone else had anything to say. 

One club member rose and said, “These men and women here are examples of the finest young people in our country today.  God bless them all.” 

There was not a dry eye in the room.  We knew we were at home in Flora.