B-17 'Sentimental Journey' on mission to share lesson.

You don't have to be an aviation buff to appreciate the look back in time this week at the Garden City Regional Airport.

The vintage B-17 "Sentimental Journey" is on display at the local airport. The impressive aircraft arrived Monday and is scheduled to depart after a week in town.

The public is invited to check out the historic warbird for free. For $5, visitors can go inside the plane for a closer look.

Taking in a tour promises to give visitors a glimpse of what it was like to be part of a bombing mission during World War II. Those who stop by also may purchase a seat for a flight on the plane for $425 (a seat in the nose of the plane runs $850.)

Funds collected help keep the B-17 crisscrossing the nation for appearances at air shows and other venues.

B-17s are among a number of historic warplanes saved by organizations that take time to restore the aircraft and keep them airworthy. Thanks to such labors of love, the nation still has a number of flying museums in B-17s, B-52 Stratofortresses and other notable warplanes.

Each one has a story to tell.

Development of the four-engine B-17 bomber dubbed the "Flying Fortress" due to its defensive firepower began in the 1930s. More than 12,000 were produced, with many used in bombing missions during World War II.

The bomber later named "Sentimental Journey" was put into service by the United States in March 1945.

Now, it's on a mission to educate and inspire.

By taking in veterans' stories and artifacts of war, Americans can better comprehend the contributions and sacrifices of our military men and women. For example, youngsters should learn about the significance of D-Day in 1944 ---- 69 years ago today when 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy and set the stage for the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Without efforts to keep the stories of war alive whether in veterans sharing memories or making it possible for others to experience war artifacts like the B-17 bomber many important chapters in history could be lost forever.