STRATFORD - A top a Christmas tree more than 300 miles away sits a little piece of Connecticut. That tree is in the White House and that piece of Connecticut is an ornament sized replica of Marine One.
“What most people don’t know is that President Eisenhower was the first American president to use helicopters for presidential travel and Sikorsky made that helicopter in 1957,” said Stewart McLaurin, President, White House Historical Association.
And so began a legacy of presidents flying on Marine One, built and maintained right here in Connecticut at Sikorsky. Every single president since Eisenhower has flown in one of their aircraft.
Something the company takes pride in. “This is a very iconic aircraft for Sikorsky and the legacy of this aircraft right here in this plant right here in Connecticut,” Pierre Garant of Sikorsky.
Every year since 1981, The White House historical Association has featured a different president on the official White House ornament. When it came time for president Eisenhower, the choice to feature Marine One was easy.
“We wanted to represent his military leadership for our country, it has the presidential seal representing his presidency and then the most iconic thing that you see on the helicopter itself the United States of America,” said McLaurin.
Not only will this ornament be on the tree at the White House it can also be on your tree, it’s become a collector’s item. Each year they create an ornament with a different president in mind.
“I don’t have to make a political decision as to who we’re going to feature that’s decided for us last year was Truman, this year is Eisenhower, and next year is Kennedy,” said McLaurin.
All of the money raised from these ornaments goes to support the White House historical Association which works to preserve the history of the White House and educate the public.