Wings of Freedom: 'I brought you back up for your final flight, dad'

Veterans and community members get a chance to reminisce at Wings of Freedom celebration (SBG)

COOS BAY, Ore. - Historic World War II airplanes made their way to the Oregon Coast this week, but for some in attendance, it was more than just a history lesson.

As people took pictures and toured B-17, B-24 and B-25 airplanes from World War Two, Edward Makaruk reminisced.

"I'm the son of Adolph Makaruk, who was in the Royal Air Force in Squadron BR300 out of Biggin Hill," said Makaruk.

His father passed away four years ago, and in his youth, Makaruk escaped the Holocaust in Warsaw, Poland, all at 17 years old.

"In honor of him, I wish to take a ride on the B-24 Liberator," said Makaruk.

Makaruk is returning as a crew member this week to fly in the cockpit with Eric Whyte.

"When someone has a family tie to the airplane, it's really an honor to be able to honor them," said Whyte. "Pay tribute to our veterans that gave us the ability to fly these airplanes today."

Makaruk flew as a passenger with his father's ashes, a once in a lifetime chance to connect with his father again.

"We so easily forget about the Holocaust, we forget about these things," said Makaruk. "When we're up there, I'm going to ask him if he's proud of me. I'm going to tell him 'I brought you back up for your final flight dad.'"

Makaruk plans to done some of his father's memorabilia to the Colling's Foundation. The Wings of Freedom Tour is scheduled to be in Corvallis from Wednesday through Friday.

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