FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – During World War II America produced 18,000 B-24 Liberators. Today there is just one of the massive bombers still flying.
This weekend it is in South Florida as a testament to time and the handful of World War II survivors still around today.
“I vividly remember all of it. It sticks with me all my life.” Seymour Swecky told CBS4.
The 89-year old is still wearing the scarf his mother gave him before sending him off to Europe.
“She said I want you to wear this on every mission and wish you luck,” he said.
35 missions later you could say it worked. Even though there was the close call where they had to empty out their shot-up plane mid-flight.
Swecky explained “To lighten us. To give us a chance to make our mission.”
Swecky was given an honorary flight at Fort Lauderdale Executive airport Friday with his son in honor of his service on the B-17. He worked the radio and gunning positions. After stepping off the plane Swecky turned to his son and gave him a kiss on cheek. It was a moment the two will never forget.
“To see him sitting in the seat that he sat for all the missions. Being there with him is an incredible experience I’ll never forget,” Bruce Swecky said as he held his father.
The planes are on display through Sunday by a non-profit organization hoping to connect today’s teenagers with what life was like 70 years ago.
Andrew Meislin with the Collings Foundation explained “If we were in World War II right now they would be flying these planes. That was the typical age of airman or a crew member.”
The Wings of Freedom tour actually goes throughout the weekend at Fort Lauderdale Executive airport. World War II veterans are free to tour the planes.
You can take a ride in one of the planes for $400 bucks. Visitors can take the controls and fly one of the planes for $2200. For more information go to http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm