World War II

The historic aircraft is now suspended above the exhibition galleries.

One of the Bullock Texas State History Museum's largest and most notable artifacts, the North American Aviation AT-6A "Texan" airplane, took flight once more this week in Austin. Reassembled from individual sections previously on display on the third floor of the museum, the iconic World War II-era, single engine aircraft now soars over the three-storied exhibition atrium in a stunning display of airforce might.

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“I’ve always been interested in World War II, but I wanted to get a better understanding of what these guys really went through,” says 19-year-old Rishi Sharma of Los Angeles.

“About a year and a half ago,” he said, “I started riding my bike to senior homes to talk to veterans of World War II, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

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This is not in the same league as “Saving Private Ryan,” but like that World War II film, this one also deals in graphic, visceral realism that gives it more weight than the old “B” war pictures that obviously inspired it. Call it “five guys and a tank” for the quasi family of men trapped inside the metal bucket called a Sherman tank in the final days leading to the end of the war.

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By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson, Texas Army National Guard

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