YPSILANTI (WWJ) – It was five million square feet of manufacturing muscle.

History buffs and others just curious about the Willow Run plant will want to be part of Saturday’s event which includes a lecture and a tour of that huge factory where bomber planes were built in World War II.

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WWJ’s Ron Dewey says a fundraising campaign to preserve a part of the plant as the new home of the Yankee Air Museum is moving closer to its $8 million dollar goal.

Dennis Norton of the Yankee Air Museum says the Willow Run Bomber plant, and Detroit’s role in supplying the Arsenal of Democracy … was as big as the plant itself.

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“We were able to produce more airplanes than Germany could shoot down,” said Norton. “We could produce more tanks than the axis powers could destroy, more trucks. We did, here, enough industrial production to win that war and we would not have been able to win that war without what Detroit did.”

Norton says the Big Three’s contribution–setting aside four years worth of car production–cannot be emphasized enough:

“That is something, with all the problems we have in Detroit now, we can look back on this four, five year period of time, when Detroit saved the world and we can smile about that. It’s something in our history that is really, really good.”

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Learn more about the lecture, tour and fundraising campaign -HERE.