NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A piece of flying history landed right here in East Texas on Saturday. The B-25 Yellow Rose Mitchell World War II Bomber touched down at the Nacogdoches Airport for the 'Azalea Fly-in.' Veterans said this museum piece brings history alive for those who see it.
Made in 1943 for the second World War, the Yellow Rose is a flying museum piece.
"This airplane served in every part of war in World War II: Mediterranean, European, Italian, Pacific, South Pacific, Alaska," said David Beirro, of the Commemorative Air Force.
Pilots, children and people from all over gathered to lay eyes and hands on the aircraft at Nacogdoches' airport.
"They sit and play with controls and hold the guns and see what it was really like," Beirro said.
"It's a way to invite people to our airport that wouldn't normally be coming this way," said Mary Uresti, Airport Manager.
"Twenty-four of them are flying. It's famous in that it was the type of aircraft used by General Doolittle in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo," Beirro said.
The vintage B-25J Mitchell attracted visitors not only interested in the Azalea Fly-in, but visitors with a heartfelt connection to the 72-year-old World War II Bomber.
"It's an honor for us to tie in with the veterans from World War II, the greatest generation," said Tim Black, Pilot in Command.
"It's déjà-vu all over again. It just really brings them back," Beirro said.
After decades, memories are still vivid for former airport manager and veteran, A.L. Johnson. He couldn't make it to see the Yellow Rose.
"He couldn't come to us, so we came to him," Black said. "People say, 'Why do you do what you do?' because we're all volunteers in the Commemorative Air Force, and we keep history alive."
The volunteers said it's the most rewarding part of touring the skies with a plane of such sentimental value.
"It's really impactful and emotional when you have a World War II veteran come out to see the airplane," Black said.
"Only 24 of the planes are still flying today. The smells and sounds are a history lesson for the young, and a trip down memory lane for those who served our country.
The Yellow Rose is operated by the Central Texas wing of the Commemorative Air Force.