Jimmy Buffett aircraft on the Battleship steeped in Buffett and military history

MOBILE, Alabama (WKRG) – Jimmy Buffett is remembered around the world for his music. Buffett grew up in Mobile and passed away on Friday evening after a long battle with skin cancer. This weekend we also get a glimpse of his charity. Last year he anonymously donated two of his planes to Battleship Memorial Park. It’s a gesture that’s both steeped in Buffett lore and continues the park’s educational mission.

The two aircraft took months to assemble in the Medal of Honor Pavilion. Whenever anyone asked who donated them, insiders would embarrassedly reply that it was anonymous, despite knowing they came from one of the biggest names in music.

A Boeing Stearman with flowers in a wing featured prominently in the music video for the Jimmy Buffett song “”.Journey around the sun.” A second plane, a Grumman Goose, was also owned by Buffett and featured Buffett branding, like this version of the plane that hung at a Margaritaville resort in Biloxi. The goose now on display at Battleship Park looks the way it did 80 years ago. It was part of the Royal Canadian Air Force and patrolled the Canadian border during World War II.

“It’s wonderful. It’s something we can visit often. Our children or grandchildren can grow up knowing that it is theirs and is now a part of us,” said Jessica Nguyen of Bilxoi, Mississippi. She visited Sunday morning the Airplane Pavilion with her family, along with the goose, a wreath, a Hawaiian shirt, and a felt-tip pen all paid tribute to Buffett.

“For me it’s the connection to Jimmy, the fact that he has it in his personal collection too. It just helps someone get a little closer to them,” said Clayton Harris of El Dorado, Arkansas. Park officials say Buffett’s camp contacted the Battleship Park Foundation in 2022 to donate the planes anonymously. The planes were shipped in parts and reassembled in the Medal of Honor Pavilion. They were publicly displayed while the donor remained private. It was difficult to keep this secret.

“Well, the folks here working on this project aren’t just proud to say, ‘Yeah, guess what we’ve got…Jimmy Buffett’s planes!'” said Terry Ankerson, chairman of the USS Alabama Commission. He also went to school with Buffett at McGill-Toolen.

“He will always be a part of Mobile. And this is one of those moves where Jimmy Buffett is part of Battleship Park,” Ankerson said. Battleship Memorial Park officials managed to keep Jimmy Buffett’s name a secret for more than a year. They had planned to make a public announcement earlier in the year. They say Buffett kept procrastinating until time was up. In hindsight, they realized the delays were due to Buffett’s deteriorating health.

“It hurts. It still hurts me personally not to see Jimmy speak to us here in person,” Anderson said. It’s the loss of another chance to thank and say hello to the king of island escape.

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

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