Burlington students visit WWII vets, tour historic planes in hopes of preserving history

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Wings of Freedom is a nationwide tour that showcases WWII aircraft. It stops in Burlington every year, but for the last couple of years a local teacher has decided to make the airshow a great learning opportunity.

“I have watched great story after great story of how my students' lives have been changed from matching up with these veterans,” Anna Liese Call said.

Julianna Bell was one of more than 20 students that met with the veterans and toured the planes at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport on Tuesday.

“I'm a history geek, so it's just really cool to see actual things and what they actually used instead of just like looking at a picture in the book,” Bell said.

Bud Shepard was one of the veterans she and her classmates met.

“I was in the Army Air Corps,” Shepard said. “I enlisted in 1943. The day I was 18 years old, I was on a B-17. I was a tail gunner on it.”

Shepard is sharing his experience with the kids in hopes that they’ll carry on the knowledge.

“If we don't do this, the next generation of kids is going to lose out on history,” Shepard said. “History is something everybody ought to know about.”

Bell says the experience she had on Tuesday will stick with her for a while. It has given her an even greater appreciate for the people who served our country.

“Serving them, making them feel special, I think that's really important,” Bell said.