The bomber group in flight around the time of the mission to Munich, Germany, in 1944. The “Yellow G” is in the bottom row, third plane from the left.

VATERSTETTEN, Germany — It has been nearly 70 years since a B-24 Liberator with the 485th Bomb Group was shot down near this small community in the midst of World War II.

On Friday, the people of Vaterstetten gathered to rededicate a memorial to the crewmembers of that bomber, the “Yellow G.”

The “Yellow G” was shot down on July 19, 1944, during a bombing run over Munich. If not for the tireless work of a core group of Vaterstetten citizens, the story of the aircraft and its crewmembers may have been lost to time, forgotten in the shuffle of hundreds of thousands of such stories that sprung up from the Second World War.

Of the 10 Americans aboard the plane, six were killed in the crash. The remaining four were taken prisoner, but survived the war. The last of those four, Staff Sgt. Al O’Brien, passed away in 2007 – two years before the completion of the memorial bearing his name.

Georg Reitsberger, the mayor of Vaterstetten, is a member of the town’s historical society. He felt that building a monument to the American crew was an important step in keeping peace at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Understandably, not everybody in Vaterstetten felt the same way.

“They were very surprised about it,” Reitsberger said. “But then they thought it was a really, really good idea. It’s very unusual, I know that, because a lot of people lost their relatives in the bombing of Munich.

“It’s unusual to build a memorial for former enemies, but it’s so important to remember that we have had 70 years of peace. These things have to be remembered.”

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