Tuesday, February 18, 2014

President's Day ~ Air Force One ~ Palm Springs, CA

President’s Day 2014 in the U.S.A. was celebrated on Feb. 17.  It was first created for George Washington in 1879, called Washington Day and always on his birthday.  It has changed over time and now honors the office of the Presidency on the third Monday of February.  President Barack Obama was visiting Palm Springs, California on this President’s Day of 2014.  

Kirk Douglas Way entrance sign 
The Coachella Valley, home of Palm Springs had been buzzing with the news that the President was coming for a visit.  President Obama met with the King of Jordon for official business then some golfing fun with his highschool friends over the President’s Day week-end.

Air Force One sits at Palm Springs Airport
We made our way to the airport hoping to get to see Air Force One and were amazed to be able to get up so close.  I expected it to be out of sight for security reasons but that shows my lack of knowledge in that department.  It was very close to a public area so photos were easy.  Several other people had the same idea as we did and they were all busy with their cameras.

Boeing 747-200B aircraft
The airplane is over 231 feet long so it isn’t easily hidden but I sure was happy to be able to see it without buildings in the way.  My biggest challenge was to get a palm tree in the photo and to keep walking until I found that right location.  It isn’t Palm Springs without a palm tree in the photo!

In Remembrance monument at Palm Springs airport
Palm Springs does not have a very large airport but it is very secure.  This monument was dedicated in 2003 as following 9/11 Palm Springs was the first in the nation to develop a centralized vehicle inspection plaza. There is no doubt that security has been even more with this weekend visit by the President.

Visit by Air Force One at Palm Springs airport
The first to benefit from a presidential airplane was President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the Secret Service configured one that was used in February 1945.  Previous to that there were commercial flights used until security became a concern.

Front view of Air Force One
The name ‘Air Force One’ became used after a 1953 incident making a name change necessary but it wasn’t until 1962 that it became official.  There were a few names used before this one such as ‘Guess Where ll’, ‘Sacred Cow’ and ‘Independence’ with a bald headed eagle painted on the plane but Air Force One definitely sounds best and gets my vote.

The seal of the President of the United States of America
There have been several aircraft used over the years but presently there are two Boeing VC-25A’s that are highly customized for use by the President.  The aircraft is called Air Force 2 when used by the vice-president.
Air Force One sits near the Palm Springs airport terminal
Air Force One is almost a mobile White House for the President when he is away from there.  It has state-of-the-art navigation, electronic and communications equipment, conference room, offices, dining rooms and private quarters for the President and First Lady.

Entrance to Palm Springs Airport
This week-end has now come to an end and activity at the airport has returned to its’ regular busy routine.  The weather was weekend perfect and life here has returned to normal.  The President has left the Valley.


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