The performance of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds is always a highlight of the Cleveland National Air Show, and on Labor Day, the world-famous aerobatics team not only thrilled the crowd at Burke Lakefront Airport with their close formation flying, they also paid tribute to fallen Akron Police Officer Justin Winebrenner.
"The Thunderbirds started the Fallen Warrior program back in 2011, and at every show site, we honor a fallen service member, a fallen firefighter, or police officer. So we did a little bit of research and we read Justin's story and we decided we had to honor this individual," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephanie Englar.
Patrolman Winebrenner was killed while off duty in November, 2014. He was shot when he attempted to protect customers and employees at an Akron bar from a combative customer armed with a gun. The officer left behind a loving family that includes his father, a retired police officer, and his young daughter Charlee Ayn.
The family says they are grateful that the Thunderbirds are making sure that Justin's sacrifice will not be forgotten, as memories fade with the passage of time.