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WWII bomber Memphis Belle restored, unveiled at USAF museum

Posted at 1:28 PM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 13:28:50-04

DAYTON, OH (WHIO/CNN) - A newly restored World War II bomber is now on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio.

The Memphis Belle was unveiled Wednesday at a private event honoring family members of the crew.

The unveiling of the plane was met with thunderous applause.

Hundreds of people gave the plane and the men and women that worked to restore it a standing ovation.

"It means everything to me and my family that he's here in spirit," said Robert Morgan Jr., whose father was a pilot of the Memphis Belle.

His father passed away 14 years ago.

Morgan flew all the way from San Francisco to take part in the once in a lifetime event.

He even wore his father's wings to the ceremony.

"I promised him when he was dying 14 years ago that I would do anything I could for the Memphis Belle Memorial Association and to keep the plane alive," said Morgan.

The plane is completely restored just like it was when it flew 25 missions over Europe in World War II.

The new paint job shows the infamous Memphis Belle.

"Well I think this is the ‘Oh, wow factor,' " said Lt. Gen Jack Hudson.

"You know as they get up close it's 'Oh wow look at that.' "

Along with it, more than 100 artifacts and information boards to educate museum visitors about the plane's importance in the war.

Morgan said his father did know the plane was being restored and would be on display at the Air Force museum.

For all those vets there Wednesday, they remember so many other members of the military that never got the chance.

"You know everybody called dad a hero and stuff and you know all the rest and he said 'you know the real heroes were the guys that didn't come back and they were the real heroes of the war,' " Morgan said.

The Memphis Belle was the subject of a 1944 documentary and the focus of a 1990 Hollywood film.

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