Washington, D.C. --
The National Anthem, followed by an A-10 and F-16 flyover and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, kicked off the Air Force's final Heritage to Horizons summer concert at the Air Force Memorial Aug. 4, 2017. The theme for the special event was "Portraits in Courage."
The program highlights Airmen who have demonstrated courage in combat, in their community and while overcoming adversity.
In the 10 years since its inception, more than 167 Airmen have been honored through Portraits in Courage. The 2017 program honors 21 stories showcasing 49 courageous military and civilian Airmen.
"We want to thank you for your service, honor you tonight and celebrate what it means to be an Airman," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.
This year's portraits included combat controllers who directly engaged the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq, pilots who were on the frontline in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and several Airmen who overcame tremendous adversity to return to service and heroically saved lives of people in their community.
"It is only fitting we say thanks to these Airmen and host tonight's concert at this Air Force Memorial where the lines of history and heroism interact," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
Also among the honorees were Airmen who gave the last true measure of devotion to their country.
"Two of the honorees this year laid down their lives while courageously protecting others," said event narrator Col. Larry Lang, U.S. Air Force Band commander and conductor. "We will never forget them or their sacrifice, and we will always honor them and their families."
Military and community members joined the service's senior leaders in celebrating the Airmen selected as this year's Portraits in Courage honorees.
"To the Airmen and the families attending on behalf of fallen loved ones, we are humbled by your experience, your service and your sacrifice," Goldfein said. "We are on your wing for life and we will never forget."
To read about each Portraits in Courage honorees, visit http://static.dma.mil/usaf/70/pic17.pdf