A Piece of World War II History Restored - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/17/02

A Piece of World War II History Restored

It's been years in the making, and this weekend, the Silent Wings Museum finally opens its doors. The museum showcases part of Lubbock's heritage from the days of World War II and the forgotten glider pilots role in the war. It's a piece of history forever restored right here in Lubbock.

The Silent Wings Museum will tell the remarkable story of glider pilots, an often forgotten group of World War II heroes.

"What we hope to accomplish here is to tell people the story of how the gliders fit into the overall fabric of World War II and the effort. The unique part about that is that it's Lubbock's history, the training happened here at the South Plains Army Airfield which is now Lubbock International Airport for the glider pilots," said Aviation Director, Mark Earle.

Aviation Director Mark Earle says the museum will preserve this part of history, while bringing it to life for a whole new generation.

"We're telling the story of the glider pilots through a lot of archived data, tying the different pieces of the World War II story together and how the glider program interweaves with that, all that happens through graphic panels and photos that are on the wall throughout the museum," said Earle.

It's a display of artifacts that will take you back to a time when glider pilot Otto Lyons fought for his country.

"It's very heartwarming. I guess the thing that means the most to me is to see something like this museum that's dedicated to the glider pilots open to the public to teach the children of the world this part of history. It's been a long time coming. After the war was over, the program was discontinued and helicopters took our place, so from then on, there was nothing said about gliders or glider pilots. Consequently, we got lost in the shuffle somehow, but this brings it back," said Otto Lyons.

The National World War II Glider Pilots Association's annual reunion is here this weekend. The group usually has about 250 in attendance, but this weekend 750 flying war veterans will be in the Hub City for the opening of the museum.

Saturday marks the official ribbon cutting ceremony, and it's a day set aside just for the veterans and their guests. Sunday the museum opens to the public for the first time at 1:00 p.m., general admission is $4, seniors get in for $3, and children under 12 are $2.

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