Group says plane is no 'Nazi tribute'

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A plane with swastikas on its tail, based at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, won't land a home at Lansing Municipal Airport anytime soon.

Recent rumors about the German Junker Ju 52 moving to the village have been unfounded, said John Kowal, the volunteer public information officer for the Great Lakes Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

Kowal, who said the Junker Ju 52 is used for historical re-enactments and education, is concerned about recent confusion about his group after an unsigned letter was sent to Lansing Village Trustee Bob Ryan and sparked discussion at a Lansing Village Board meeting May 15.

The letter said the "Nazi tribute airplane" was offensive to people of Jewish and Dutch descent and World War II veterans.

The Commemorative Air Force, founded by World War II veterans, has "absolutely no politics other than U.S. patriotism," Kowal said. Rather, it's a nonprofit museum organization and brings the planes "to the people" rather than hanging them in a room in a museum, he said.

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