Honoring local World War II veterans with special B-17 Bomber flights


In case you missed our special report we first aired Monday night at 11, some local World War II veterans were given the opportunity to fly in a B-17 Bomber. KLEW News Reporter Kaila Lafferty shows us why this turned out to be an emotional ride.

It looked like the 1940’s all over again at the Hillcrest Aircraft Company hanger.

"I'm just here to experience and be with the veterans,” said Taniya Smith, Iraq War Veteran.

Dressed as a 1940’s pine-up, Taniya helped local World War II veterans relive a little bit of the past.

"I'm a veteran, it’s awesome hearing their stories is amazing,” said Smith.

One of those stories was of John Kendall who has dedicated all 97 years of his life so far to aviation.

"I'm just an old country boy that left and went to California to get into aviation,” said Kendall.

John was drafted into the Army during World War II.

"I had about seven or eight airplanes on the flight line that I had to take care of,” said Kendall.

After the military, John continued a career in aviation.

Kendall said, "I stayed in aviation for over 60 years."

And this Fourth of July is a special one for John.

Kendall said, "I get to ride in the B-17 because I helped build them at Boeing in Seattle.”

John is one of several from the Idaho Veteran’s Home in Lewiston that are getting to celebrate Independence Day by reliving the past.

They loaded onto the B-17 Bomber, and got on the taxiway, and as the plane readied for take-off, passions that were thought to be long and gone were relived.

"I appreciate it very much,” said Kendall.

And as the B-17 took to the air, emotions ran high.

Kendall said, "Well at my age, it brings back old memories... and everybody during World War II, everybody sacrificed."

This was all part of the First Annual Radials and Rivers 2017 Fly In.

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