Reimagining a WWII-era 1940s social
Illustration by Sterling Hundley
Hangar Dance Redux
It’s 1940-something. You’re young and single, and you wish “the boys” would come back home. After all, it’s not much fun flying solo. So you light up at the mention of a Valentine’s Day hangar dance. There is the romance of rubbing cheeks with a handsome man in uniform, and the excitement of hopping to your favorite tunes in an airplane hangar. And you help your country raise money for the war effort, too.
Obviously, this period in history has passed. These days, most young ladies don’t daydream about dancing with a man who has been fighting Nazis as big band music fills the room. But those Virginians who wonder what the World War II social scene was like might be pleased to know that the Commonwealth still pays tribute to the days of Sinatra and war bond fundraisers. The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach hosts a Valentine’s Day hangar dance every year. Ladies and gents don their favorite vintage clothing, then get out on the floor and swing. On a more solemn note, attendees may light candles for those they know who died during the war.
It is a departure from the typical Valentine’s Day outing, and a thrilling evening for those nostalgic at heart.