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White House shines light on Fort Rucker Aviation Museum with official ornament

Updated: Sep. 23, 2019 at 4:52 PM CDT
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FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WSFA) - White House officials hosted a special ceremony at Fort Rucker to honor a piece of national history in Alabama.

Monday, national and local leaders gathered for a commemorative event in honor of the Army 1 helicopter used during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration.

The helicopter is on display at Fort Rucker’s Army Aviation Museum and a scaled down version is this year’s official White House ornament.

“Families can come here and see a piece of White House history right here in their home state,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association.

Former President Eisenhower was the first sitting president to fly in a helicopter. He alternated between the Army 1 Helicopter and Marine Corp aircraft.

Each year, the White House Historical Association selects an ornament design honoring a past president. This is the first time there has been a connection to Alabama.

“It’s wonderful and appropriate that the White House Historical Association has chosen to honor army aviation and Fort Rucker with this year’s Christmas ornament,” said U.S. Rep. Martha Roby.

Since Eisenhower’s first use in 1957, Sikorsky, a Lockhead Martin Company, has built the presidential helicopter.

“Sikorsky, as well as the other military helicopters here, are a source of pride in Alabama,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “It’s hard to think that Christmas is around the corner as hot as it is in Alabama, but I’m looking forward to seeing a little piece of Alabama hanging on the tree during the holidays.”

“Every time families hang this on their Christmas tree, we hope it’ll be a reminder of presidential history, White House history, how the helicopter came to be used by the president, but more importantly men and women in uniform,” said McLaurin.

The ornaments can be purchased at the museum in Fort Rucker or online.

Money raised from the sale of the ornament goes to help keep the White House at museum standard.

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