Commemorative Air Force High Sky Wing displayed a very special plane this past week. The North American B-25 Mitchell, a World War II bomber named ‘Maid in the Shade,’ took the spotlight.
For Marc Ludwig of the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona, remembering history is personal. He recalls the first time he rode ‘Maid in the Shade’ during his commute from Mesa, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“After we were in the air, it dawned on me you know, my dad used to fly in one of these… 75 years ago,” said Ludwig. “So yeah, it’s really something.”
Growing up, Ludwig was fascinated by his father’s stories of war. “We’d sit on the patio with friends, and he’d have a beer and start talking about some of the experiences that he had. It was amazing.”
He later went onto serve himself and joined his family’s generations of veterans. In order to keep their legacies alive, he also became a part of the Commemorative Air Force.
“They knew they were going into battle. They knew they could die, but they went in anyway. We just owe them a great debt and gratitude. So, we just try to educate the public so that they can remember what those boys did for us.”
And for Commemorative Air Force High Sky Wing’s Volunteer, Steve Bolin, being a part of the museum makes him feel like a part of history.
“The older airplanes, you actually feel the part that you’re with it and it’s a living, breathing machine.”
‘Maid in the Shade’ was the only one of its three other cohorts to make it back from war. After 28 years of restoration, Roland Smith is in charge of making sure the historical beauty works properly.
“The bigger thing about the plane is what it represents to all the veterans that are still alive. So the stories you hear from people who are moved by this aircraft, and our efforts to keep it flying and running, are really, pretty rewarding. It’s never really something I had considered.”
“We preserve as to not repeat” is a shared sentiment among those at the Commemorative Air Force.