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Plane gallery dedicated at WWII museum to elder US president Bush

The former aviator, whose bomber was shot down by Japan and who died in 2018, was an early supporter of the New Orleans institution that dedicated a section in his honor last week

In this May 11, 2008, photo, former US president George H.W. Bush arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
In this May 11, 2008, photo, former US president George H.W. Bush arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has dedicated a gallery of planes to former aviator US president George H.W. Bush, who was forced to bail out of his bomber during the war when it was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire.

The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported that Bush was remembered during the dedication ceremony last week at the museum, where the gallery displaying aircraft flown during the war was christened the George H.W. Bush Aviation Gallery. Overhead was the same type of plane flown by Bush during the war — a blue light bomber called an Avenger.

The future president was trying to eliminate a Japanese radio tower in 1944 when his aircraft was hit and he bailed out; a submarine rescued him but the other two men in the plane died. During the dedication ceremony, his grandson, Pierce Bush, said the elder Bush thought about the other men who didn’t make it constantly.

“In some way,” Bush’s grandson said, “it impacted how he lived.”

The former president, who died in 2018, was an early supporter of the museum, which was first called the D-Day Museum and later dubbed the National WWII Museum. The Aviation Gallery named in his honor includes six vintage airplanes, including the Avenger.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also spoke at the ceremony, and called the late president a “war hero and consummate public servant.” The governor, who is also a former military member, also noted the current military conflict Europe is engaged in, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and lamented that the world is apparently “not smart enough” to learn from previous generations who’ve experienced war.

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