UPDATED May 21: When the 10-man crew of “The Memphis Belle” completed their 25th mission over Europe in 1943, they and their B-17 heavy bomber were brought home to the U.S. for a cross-country publicity tour and were made famous by William Wyler’s World War II live-action combat documentary (also called “The Memphis Belle”). I wrote about all of that in my Wyler biography, A Talent for Trouble. On May 17 — 75 years to the day of that final mission — the restored aircraft was put on permanent display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Ohio, and was memorialized in a ceremony streamed from the museum..
Postscript: May 16 — Here’s the streamed broadcast of the ceremony. The tribute to the crew begins at 26’21”:
PPS: May 21 — Wyler’s 40-minute “The Memphis Belle (A Story of a Flying Fortress)” was released nationwide in April, 1944. This restored print offers as a crisp a look at the original as you’ll find. It begins in the English countryside with a dramatic voiceover more memorable in its poetic impact than any combat documentary I know of: “This is a battlefront — a battlefront like no other in the long history of mankind’s wars.”