A project honoring Vietnam veterans is one step closer to opening at The Museum of Flight, thanks in part to a generous donation from longtime Seattle-area residents and philanthropists Dave and Sandy Sabey.
The Museum of Flight recognized the Sabeys’ $50,000 gift Monday Nov. 19, during a celebration at Raisbeck Aviation High School. The money will support the restoration of a Boeing B-52 bomber and the Museum’s Project Welcome Home.
“Boeing has made an indelible mark on the Pacific Northwest and beyond for more than a century,” said Dave Sabey. “We are honored to help return this iconic B-52 Stratofortess to its original condition and help The Museum of Flight with this very important effort.”
Honoring Vietnam veterans and the B-52 Stratofortess has special meaning for Sabey and his family, he said. Sabey’s brother, Dean, served in an air cavalry division in Vietnam. Both their parents had long careers at Boeing.
“Like many Boeing families, our blood runs blue,” Sabey said. “We have much to thank The Boeing Company for what they’ve done, and we have much to thank veterans like my brother, Dean, who have helped preserve American ideals like equal opportunity and that nothing is impossible if we work together.”
Project Welcome Home will include the refurbished B-52G Stratofortress 59-2584 Midnight Express, a statue honoring all military veterans who served during the war in the serene Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park. A group of Vietnam veterans, many of whom served on B-52 crews, first conceived Project Welcome Home when they reunited.
Aside from restoring a historic Vietnam and Cold War-era aircraft, the Museum hopes that the exhibit will provide educational opportunities for present-day and future generations and remind us all of the human costs of conflict. Nearly 8,000 military aircraft were lost during Vietnam and 58,318 members of U.S. armed forces died or were missing as a result of the war.
“This big-hearted support from Dave and Sandy Sabey ensures that the B-52 restoration project is completed in 2019,” said Matt Hayes, president and CEO of The Museum of Flight. “Project Welcome Home has been a passion project for a dedicated group who wanted to create a place where people can learn about and reflect on the Vietnam War.”
The Museum of Flight’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park is scheduled to open in the first half of 2019. Learn more about the project at MuseumofFlight.org.