The Queen sent her regrets (something about a Royal Wedding?). But today was the 75th anniversary of the last mission of the most famous US Bomber of WWII. And yes, Queen Elizabeth was invited to the ceremony, as she was in attendance when her Father greeted the crew of the Memphis Belle after it's last combat mission on May 17th 1943. The "Belle" has been undergoing a full restoration at Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio, and was unveiled today in permanent display at the USAF Museum. For those who missed the ceremony, which was attended by numerous WWII vets, surviving family members, and the RAFs Liasion Officer to the USAF along with the Counsel General, you can still watch the you-tube video below. Go to the USAFM website for more information on the restoration process. She now hangs form the ceiling of the WWII "Strategic Bombing" exhibit, in all her "open bombay splendor". Here's the unveiling ceremony:
Also, if you watch some of the associated videos, especially the lectures by the Museum's Curator and others, you might be surprised to learn that 51% of all USAF/USAAC combat deaths (30,000 aircrew lost) between 1917 and today, were during the Strategic Bombing campaign against the Third Reich-- which is what this new display at the Museum of the USAF is dedicated to.