SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — One of the most iconic aircrafts that flew during World War II, the B-17 bomber played an all-important role in helping put an end to the war. 

With only five remaining airborne across the globe, one of them is here in the Hostess City at Sheltair Aviation Services this Memorial Day Weekend.

“The men and women who sacrificed themselves in World War II, their sacrifices need to be remembered and this B-17 is how we help educate the public on what those sacrifices were, the freedoms that we all enjoy and the sacrifices that we need to honor,” explained Kevin D. Michels, Flight Crew & Wing Historian for the Commemorative Air Force.

88-year-old Dan Ragan used to be a radio operator aboard a B-17 aircraft in the mid-1950’s.

Even though he’s still here to tell about it, many that served our country onboard these planes are not. That’s something that he said makes celebrating Memorial Day all the more important.

“I had an older brother, 19-years-old, he was a pilot on a B-17 over Europe. They were kids back then, but they won the war and we need to honor them, educate the public and never forget. If you forget what happened, history will come back and bite you,” Ragan said.

Earlier this week, volunteers planted some 26,000 American flags in the annual flags for the fallen display at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force just down the road.

Representing the 26,000 members of the Eighth Air Force that were killed during WWII.

“We have adjourned this entire garden with 26,000 48-star flags in honor of those fallen airmen, the average age, 21-years-old. Earlier this week we had about 400 volunteers that amazingly set out those 26,000 flags in just two and a half hours,” said Jeffery Johnson, member of the Flags for the Fallen Planning Committee at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

The Commemorative Air Force will be holding cockpit tours and flight opportunities at Sheltair Aviation Services through Memorial Day Weekend, while the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force will also be holding events throughout the holiday weekend.