Alabama’s ties to this year’s White House Christmas Ornament

The White House Historical Association’s 2019 Christmas Ornament honors the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, in 1957, became the first sitting president to fly in a helicopter.

The White House Historical Association’s 2019 Christmas Ornament honors the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, in 1957, became the first sitting president to fly in a helicopter. That original VCH -34 Army One helicopter, now display at Alabama’s Fort Rucker Army Aviation Museum, is the model for this year’s ornament. Ceremonies were held this week at Fort Rucker to unveil the ornament.

“The helicopter ornament symbolizes Eisenhower’s achievement as the first sitting president to fly in a helicopter in 1957, as well as his example of fairness and innovation by combining the two he flew in: Army and Marine Corps aircrafts,” the White House Historical Association said in a release.

The ornament features the Presidential Seal on one side, representing Eisenhower’s two terms as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (1953 – 1961). On the other is his five-star rank, honoring his military service as a general in the U.S. Army. The box containing the ornament is a rendering of the White House’s South Lawn, representing how Eisenhower started the tradition of presidential helicopter transportation directly to and from the South Lawn.

Since Eisenhower’s first use in 1957, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, has built the presidential helicopter. Lockheed, the sponsor of this year’s ornament, has major operations in the state, with facilities in Troy and Huntsville.

Gov. Kay Ivey today made her first public appearance since announcing last week that doctors had found what she said was a tiny, isolated malignancy in her lung.

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Post time: Sep-25-2019

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