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Paul Allen's new exhibit pays homage to 'human face' of war, and his dad

A new exhibit at Everett's Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum is preserving a piece of Paul Allen's family history.

This weekend, Pacific Northwest icon Paul Allen posthumously honors our war veterans and pays tribute to the man he considered his own personal war hero.

The massive war machines that fill the hangars of Everett's Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum are filled with stories -- stories of the sons and daughters who fought in our world's wars. Stories that even in his death, Paul Allen is helping tell.

"I cry every time I think about it," said the museum's Michelle Donoghue. "That's the touching piece of this museum and what it represents. Paul did a great job in preserving that."

There's the story of the B-25 Bomber, meticulously restored to honor Steven Spielberg's father who turned 101 this year.

"His daughter Sue wrote to us and said her dad was tickled to receive our happy birthday message," said docent Rick Foort. "He wanted to know if we were taking good care of his plane. I told her definitely, yes."

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The museum houses dozens of painstakingly restored warplanes, tanks, and much more. All of which still roll, fly, and fire.

Throughout, Allen always paid special attention to Northwest veterans.

A World War II Hellcat fighter recently brought together two crew members who hadn't seen each other in 75 years.

"All the time we see veterans who come who stand in front of the artifacts they flew in or they drove in during the war, and it brings them to tears," said Donoghue.

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This weekend even more pieces of priceless history will be unveiled to the public. A brand new hangar opens, filled with dozens of new artifacts, including a piece of Allen’s personal history.

Designed to examine the "human face" of war, Donoghue says, "I think it pays tribute to both of his parents. His father served in World War II. His mother was a teacher. He combined the two here at the museum."

Along with an incredibly rare German Stuka dive bomber and a display that gives you a feel for what it looked like to be staring down the barrel of a tank sits a humble Jeep.

It's the same kind Allen’s father Ken drove when he landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944.

The front bumper is painted with Ken Allen's unit number in homage to the man whose bravery and dedication inspired Paul Allen to become the man he was.

"He was a great man," Donoghue said wiping away a tear. "He just did so many great things. It's hard to imagine he's gone."

The new exhibit opens Saturday at 10 a.m. Admission is free this weekend to veterans and active military members.

Also see | Timeline: Paul Allen’s impact on Pacific Northwest