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AF museum attendance soars on first day of Memphis Belle opening

Attendance at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force soared Thursday nearly four times above the average for the same date in recent years with the debut of the Memphis Belle exhibit, figures show.

The museum counted 11,066 people in attendance for the unveiling of the reborn icon, compared to an average of 2,421 on May 17 between 2015 through 2017, spokesman Rob Bardua said.

“We are anticipating large crowds for sure,” he said. “You never know the exact number to expect.”

RELATED: ‘It took my breath away,’: Memphis Belle unveiled at AF museum

Memphis Belle activities with more than 160 re-actors, plane flyovers, book signings and movie screenings were to continue through Saturday,

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The Belle was the first U.S.Army Air Forces bomber to complete 25 missions over war-torn Europe and return to the United States. The exhibit was revealed to the public on the 75th anniversary of its final mission.

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