LAREDO, Texas—Just in time for Memorial Day, the Laredo International Airport recently completed its new “Heroes’ Hangar” mural and lounge space dedicated to the brave men and women who have served our country.
After being tasked by District Five Council Member Nelly Vielma to incorporate a space within the airport to honor veterans, the airport team worked with the Laredo Public Libraries Historical Collection for six months to curate a special collection of photos that would highlight the unique history of the Laredo Air Force Base that was established during World War II and was an integral part of the city from the 1940s to 1970s.
Unknown to many, Laredo was home to a select group of pioneer women pilots, known as Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS). Enlarged photos of these women are centrally featured within the mural as a special homage to them.
The mural also showcases moments in time where Laredo’s vibrant culture and strong ties to Mexico left a mark on those that were stationed at the Base, such as pilots posing with men in mariachi trajes and others in full wardrobe for Washington’s Birthday Celebration festivities taking place on the Base. Many people who initially came to Laredo because of the Base stayed in Laredo and raised their families here.
The Hereos’ Hangar is located past the TSA check-in on the west end of the terminal and is outfitted with new leather seating. While the area is open to anyone travelling through the terminal, military personnel is especially encouraged to take a moment and relax in the Hangar’s seating area while waiting for their flights.
A compilation video featuring remarks from key stakeholders including District Five Council Member Nelly Vielma, City Manager Robert Eads, airport administration and members of the Airport Advisory Board was produced.