Commentary Search


Commentary Comments Updated
Pianos burn in a fire to honor the lives lost during the Battle of Britain in World War II, Sept. 15, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Pianos burned during Battle of Britain celebration
The 4th Fighter Wing celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The wing is able to trace its roots back to World War II, when seven American pilots volunteered to fight alongside the Royal Air Force and defend Europe against the German Luftwaffe. Annually, the 4 FW honors the volunteer pilots and the RAF during a Battle of Britain celebration and piano burning event. There are many stories as to how the piano burning tradition began.
0 9/19
Default Air Force Logo Battle of Britain: RAF piano burning tradition
The heritage of the 4th Fighter Wing began with the Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons in World War II. Long before Pearl Harbor and American entry into the war, these American volunteers fought with England against the Nazis. These squadrons, 71, 121 and 133, became the 334th, 335th and 336th Fighter Squadrons of the 4th Fighter Group in September 1942. Every year the 4 FW commemorates the Battle of Britain. This year’s event will take place at Sept. 15 2017 to coincide with the wing’s 75th Anniversary. The highlight of the event, this year and every year, will be the burning of the pianos. Multiple squadrons on base are scheduled to enter a piano in the competition. Each piano will be distinctively decorated, often in the colors and emblem of each squadron. The rules of the competition appear to be a bit murky. This is most likely due to the excitement generated by combining those two party favorites: enthusiasm and fire. The first place piano is saved from the fire to be returned to the squadron. The second place piano squadron is awarded a prize, but their piano is sentenced to the flames. Third through next to last, no prize and off to the fire. The last place piano is supposed to be spared, but most often winds up in the inferno.
0 8/18