The Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) museum recently broke ground for the addition of a new marker that honors the service of WWII military veterans.
When Bob Withee went to war, he didn’t do it for the recognition.
He did it for his country.
Withee, 92, is credited with shooting down four Japanese aircraft during World War II.
His own plane was shot down and Withee spent two days in a raft on the ocean.
He was also wounded twice.
For his service and bravery, Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) museum officials asked Withee to join them for a special groundbreaking ceremony that marked location where a WW II marker will stand.
The marker will feature a fullsize replica of a P-51 fighter plane. The P-51, donated by the Fighter Squadron restaurant in Cleveland, was restored by MAPS members last year. It will be painted to look like the plane Withee flew in the Pacific and it will be named "Jean Ann II" in honor of Withee’s wife, who passed away 12 years ago.
"I would thank all of you for being here," Withee said at the ceremony. "I never thought anything like this could happen and that I would be standing in front of a group like this and be talking."
MAPS officials have been planning for the WWII marker for more than two years. When ground was broken Oct. 2, in front of the Green City Maintenance Building Green Mayor Richard Norton, Akron-Canton Airport President Rich McQueen, and Captain Brian Escabach joined Withee for the ceremony.
Both Norton and Escabach noted that the marker will stand as a tribute to men and women such as Withee, who sacrificed so much for the country they loved.
"We must never forget what these people did for our country," said Norton, a Marine veteran.
"I would thank all you veterans for what you have done," said Escabach.
At the end of the ceremony fellow MAPS member and World War II B-24 pilot, Ralph Lynn, recited the famous poem, “High Flight,” written by John Gillespie Magee, a young American volunteer pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Magee was killed in an aviation crash just four days after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor while training in England.