There are some history buffs that live and breathe WWII stories. They know the strategies, the battles, the heros and sadly, the carnage. Then there are others like myself. I know some facts from history class, and have been lucky to visit the beaches of Normandy, and some of the war torn areas in France, but as time moves forward, the facts are becoming a bit more fuzzy and the stories I’ve been told are harder to recollect. Sadly, I fear my children will have little understanding of the impact that this war had on the world.
When a tour of war aircraft and items from WWII came to our area (The Collings Foundation, Wings of Freedom Tour), we thought this would be a great outing to expose our kids to a little bit more about the past, without the worry of “boring” them in a long winded museum tour. I mean, being on the ground as an old propeller plane fires up and takes off 100 yards away can be quite exhilarating!
We were able to see the great graphics and logos that dressed up the planes, and even get in a few to feel the experience. We explained some of the markings on a few planes, like the number of bombs that plane dropped, as well as pointed out some of the crew names who flew the plane. We also watched as history buffs, who were dressed in gear from the period, acted out their jobs. When we spoke with one, she gave us even a bit more context of each person’s responsibility during the war.
Lastly, there was some old war paraphernalia to see, a German motorbike, some German gear, and even an original hospital tent set up. The tour of items was not large, but just the right size to get a glimpse of history. As the years continue to pass by, and memories fade even more, touring exhibits like these can be a wonderful way to keep the stories going.