GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — A small town is commemorating Pearl Harbor in a special way, as Fagen Fighters World War II Museum in Granite Falls pays tribute to the Greatest Generation.
"I think it's pretty cool that the Fagens preserved the history," Alana Almich, a 10th grader at Yellow Medicine East, said.
In a town of just 2,700 people, you'll find a museum that looks like it belongs in Washington D.C.
Diane and Ron Fagen opened their museum in 2012 as a way to honor Ron's father, who fought in World War II. The hangars are filled with actual planes used in the war. On Pearl Harbor Day, the Fagens unveiled their latest exhibit.
"We feel this is very exciting for our area. We have visitors from all over the world that come here," Diane Fagen said. "We spent 14 months building this, and here we are today."
Sadly, there aren't many fighter pilots left from WWII, but 101-year-old Don McPherson is one of them. He made the trip from Adams, Nebraska to see the new exhibit, sign his fighter squadron patch, and talk about the Hellcat he flew during the war.
"You can kind of really experience what happened on that terrible day," McPherson said. "I think they need to learn about war because they are going to make decisions in their lives."
High school students watched a Pearl Harbor program, and re-enactors gave the audience an idea of what it was like to be on a Navy aircraft carrier during wartime.
"Really amazing. (McPherson is) in really good shape. He's 101 which is incredible," Gunnar Fagen, an eighth grader at Yellow Medicine East, said.
What the Fagens are offering the next generation is a life lesson through living history.
"Let's hope we learn a lesson that WWII will never be repeated again," Ron Fagen said.
The Fagens have been around the world, collecting WWII planes, artillery and other authentic artifacts used during the War.
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