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Restored WWII bomber Memphis Belle makes public debut

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By the Associated Press

Hundreds of visitors turned out to at the Air Force Museum to see the World War II bomber Memphis Belle, and the legendary aircraft rarely has looked better.

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress,” at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. The World War II bomber Memphis Belle is set to go on display for the first time since getting a yearslong restoration at the museum. The B-17 “Flying Fortress” will be introduced Thursday morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum’s World War II gallery. (AP Photo/John Minchillo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress,” at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The plane went on public display at the museum near Dayton, Ohio, for the first time on Thursday morning after a restoration project that required 13 years and 55,000 hours of work.

After a brief ceremony, visitors crowded around the plane trying to get the best photos with their phones.

The B-17 “Flying Fortress” will anchor an extensive exhibit in the museum’s World War II gallery, paying tribute to the thousands of men who served on B-17s on daylight bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

The plane was celebrated for being the first B-17 to survive 25 missions and return to the U.S.

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