GENESEO — History came to life at the National Warplane Museum.
Some reenactors and members of the museum focused on the World War Two era, going over the mission in the new briefing room, explaining the weapons at the tents, and discussing the famous D-Day over Normandy.
Scott Clark has been participating in Living History since 2001. Clark explained the task of a paratrooper.
“An 18-year-old man weighs about 130 pounds, and after he puts on all the stuff that is needed for his mission he weighs about 300 pounds,” he said. “These men were behind enemy lines and in enemy control the moment they touched ground. They had to throw off to the side some TNT to create a fox hole to jump in.”
Clark brought everyone to Whiskey 7, and had us all sit inside as we heard her story.
“Whiskey 7 was the lead plane in the second wave on D-Day,” he said. “She is a 70-year-old veteran who flew many campaigns.”
The C-47s were known as the sky train, and they carried 6,000 pounds of cargo.
On June 5, 1944 the 82nd Airborne climbed into Whiskey 7, and 21 men flew an average of 135 mph to Normandy. In the early hours of June 6, 1944 they landed.
“These men watched planes blow up around them,” Clark said. “They were given orders to stand up, check weapons, and hook up. They would jump one by one out of the plane, the cord would rip, and release the parachute. Some would only take a few seconds to hit the ground. All of them men from this crew made it back home. Only one still survives.”
Whiskey 7 made another journey to Normandy in 2014 for the anniversary. Those on board signed their names on the historic plane.
Ford Best said it is very important to tell the children the stories of the past.
“They can see the real thing,” he said. “I have 26 different outfits from the French and Indian War up to Vietnam.”
David Zuppelli has been coming to the museum since the mid-1980s.
“I love living history,” he said. “I think it is great for people to come and see what it was like 70 years ago.”
The biggest part of the event is meeting the veterans, Zuppelli said.
“You get to meet the most amazing people,” he said. “I got to talk to the one who flew the Memphis Belle.”
Zuppelli added that if children come here they can actually hold a piece of history.
“These guys really were the greatest generation,” he said. “They were 19, jumping out of planes, and being shot at. They came home after the war and rebuilt this country. My father was a World War Two veteran. He saw what the war did, and he always said it took the best years of his life. I had a lot of respect for him and his love for his country.”