POSTED: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 6:54pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 12:06pm
It’s become an Independence Day tradition.
The Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake Airshow is coming up this weekend, and some of the vintage warbirds landed in Tyler today.
The big airshow this weekend will feature planes from World War Two right up through the Cold War.
But today belonged to the icons of the 8th Air Force.
Until D-Day, these were the only Americans fighting in northern Europe.
The young men who flew the bombers and fighters of the 8th Air Force based in England lost more of their colleagues than the entire Marine Corps in World War Two.
And in Tyler today, there was another chance to see, hear, smell and touch that bit of history.
The B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed the Texas Raiders that belongs to the Commemorative Air Force, flew up from Houston, along with a B-25 Mitchell, the plane used by Jimmy Doolittle for the first raid on Tokyo.
Also coming to the show, arguably, the premier fighter of the war, the P-51 Mustang.
In fairness, my engineer father helped build the Navy Corsair in Fort Worth, and he’d argue there were two best fighters. It will be at the show as well.
Visitors can buy rides on the two old warbirds, and get a taste of the kind of missions they flew…hours on end, only a heated flight suit to fend off the below zero temperatures, and then came the enemy fighters and flak.
Ten men manned each B-17 in the mighty 8th, and when the war ended, over 26,000 of them were gone forever.
And these collections of aluminum, steel and American ingenuity are monuments to the price of freedom.
The Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake Airshow is this Saturday at dusk.