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Historic WWII aircraft land in West Lafayette

A piece of history landed in Greater Lafayette on Wednesday. The Wings of Freedom Tour brought several very rare bomber aircraft to the Purdue University airport, and News 18 took a ride in one of them with some local veterans.

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 11:12 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2018 8:41 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- A piece of history landed in Greater Lafayette on Wednesday. The Wings of Freedom Tour brought several very rare bomber aircraft to the Purdue University airport, and News 18 took a ride in one of them with some local veterans. 

It was a one of a kind experience traveling through the open air; and time.

Three WWII bomber aircraft made a stop in West Lafayette on the Wings of Freedom Tour- and so did three brothers.

Jim, Frank and Marty Gick are all very proud U.S. veterans. Jim fought in the Korean War, and Frank and Marty fought in Vietnam.

Between the trio, they drove trucks, worked in the infantry and radio. However, for Jim, there was more. 

"Also drank a lot of whiskey," Jim said.

Wednesday's interactive flying memorial showcased a small piece of history but communicated even bigger sacrifices. 

The Gick brothers want events like this tour to do just that.

"I hope that everyone appreciates their freedom, because it was paid for with blood," Frank said.

Blood that these brothers risked too.

News 18 asked, 'Why are we the best country in the world?'

"Just travel to one of the third world countries," Frank said. "It won't take you 24 hours to be ready to come back." 

Marty knows that being a soldier can change your perspective, but he says it's for the better.

"I know Vietnam made me appreciate what we had back here and I'm sure them serving in Afghanistan and those countries, I'm sure they come back here with a real appreciation of this country and what we have," Marty said as his brothers nodded.

"Yeah, we got a few warts but we're by far the best country in the world," Jim said.

The two other planes showcased during Wednesday's event were the Vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and one other plane, the North American P-51 Mustang, is on the way.

Those will be on display until Friday at the Purdue University Airport.

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