Patriots Point will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown during a “Tribute to the Yorktown” April 14 with a full day of activities, programs and family fun.
As the nation’s oldest aircraft carrier museum, the Yorktown will offer an expanded Open Cockpit Sunday with access to more aircraft than ever before and living history programs that will allow visitors to interact with sailors who served on the ship dubbed “The Fighting Lady.”
At 2 p.m., the Charleston Community Band will perform in hangar bay III, along with several musical groups throughout the day. These special programs are free with purchase of regular admission.
At 7 p.m., the party will kick off with performances by Charleston jazz icons Lonnie Hamilton III and Ann Caldwell, followed by a special USO-style show hosted by Brad and Jennifer Moranz. Food and beverages will be available for purchase while guests dance under the stars to music from World War II.
Tickets for this special evening are $22 and can be purchased at www.patriotspoint.org.
“For 70 years, the Yorktown has left an indelible mark on all those who walk her decks,” Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette said. “She turned boys into men during times of war and peace. Ordinary citizens became heroes, and courage was an everyday occurrence. Today, she leaves visitors with a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the sacrifices of those who came before them.
“The Yorktown is more than just a Lowcountry landmark,” he said. “She’s a national treasure.”
The USS Yorktown (CV -10) was one of 24 Essex-class carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. Built in just 16.5 months, Yorktown was commissioned on April 15, 1943. Named after the American Revolutionary War’s Battle of Yorktown, she is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. Initially named Bon Homme Richard, she was renamed Yorktown while under construction to commemorate the USS Yorktown (CV-5), which was sunk during the epic Battle of Midway in June 1942. Like its namesake, the USS Yorktown (CV-10) was sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Yorktown was modified twice at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in 1951-53 and in 1955. Yorktown’s service spanned three decades and included participation in WWII and the Vietnam War. The ship also recovered the Apollo 8 astronauts and capsule in December 1968. In 1974, the Navy approved the donation of the Yorktown to Patriots Point, and the ship was towed from Bayonne, N.J. to Mount Pleasant to become the nation’s first aircraft carrier museum.