A specially-commissioned exhibit commemorating the history and heroism of two Lithuanian-American pilots is now on display at Midway International Airport.
"We Shall Fly to Lithuania", located in Concourse A near the Battle of Midway exhibit, was formally unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 18, 2013.
The exhibit is comprised of family photographs, newspaper clippings and certificates of honor, tells the story of Captain Stepanos Darius and Lieutenant Stasys Girenas, whose families originally emigrated from Lithuania to the Chicago neighborhoods of Bridgeport and Marquette Park.
In 1933, these pilots built an aircraft - the Lithuanica - near Midway and flew the plane from Chicago to New York. From there, they departed on a historic nonstop, trans-Atlantic voyage to their homeland of Lithuania.
Mayor's Office of International Relations and ProtocolThe ribbon cutting event at Midway on July 18 was attended by Marijus Gudynas, Lithuanian Consul General in Chicago; Rosemarie S. Andolno, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA); Chicago Alderman Toni Foulkes (15th Ward); Kevin Glover, representing Chicago Alderman Lona Lane (18th Ward); Jenny Cizner, Director,
and Stanley Balzekas, President, Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture.
"This exhibit, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the flight, will expose travelers and employees to the culture of Lithuania, whose population in Chicago is the largest anywhere outside of Lithuania itself," said Andolino.
During the event, Consul General Gudynas also presented the Lithuanian Diplomacy Star to Commissioner Andolino for developing bilateral relations between the Republic of LIthuania and the United States.
"We Shall Fly to Lithuania" will remain at Midway through mid-August. After that, the exhibit will be displayed at O'Hare International Airport.
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