The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 14, 2013

Our View: Historic view

The Joplin Globe

— Only a few World War II  pilots are still among us to tell their stories of dangerous and heroic missions.

Boone Neal Ruff, a 96-year-old who was a fighter pilot in the Pacific, provided us and our readers with an amazing account of being in the skies about 100 miles from Nagasaki when a plutonium bomb was dropped. The memory — one we’re sure he carries with him daily — surfaced Wednesday when he visited the Joplin Regional Airport to see the Sentimental Journey, a B-17 Flying Fortress.

“It was a wonderful airplane that did a wonderful job over there,” he told our reporter.

On Saturday and Sunday, Mizzou Aviation and Alpha Air Center will sponsor an open house and you will be able to see this incredible part of history. And, if you are lucky, you might be able to meet and talk with a World War II veteran.

While you are there, take the time to learn more about the Freedom of Flight Museum, a project envisioned as a learning and discovery center at the airport for children and adults.

The Sentimental Journey is a flying museum that visits as many as 60 cities in a year. It’s an example of aviation history that must be preserved and passed on to future generations.

The weekend event is free. We would urge you to take some time and put your head in the skies.

A lot of our history was made there.