Memphis Belle monument.

Statue of Memphis Belle

Field review by the editors.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Belle was a "Flying Fortress," a B-17 bomber that became famous for surviving 25 combat missions in World War II. It was named for pilot Robert Morgan's 19-year-old fiancee, Margaret Polk, a college student in Memphis, and a direct descendant of President James K. Polk.

Margaret broke off her engagement after learning that Morgan was a womanizer (He eventually married six wives). But she remained devoted to the airplane that bore her lucky name, and successfully campaigned to keep it on display in Memphis as long as she lived.

Memphis Belle Margaret Polk.

Margaret eventually died In 2000, and without her presence the plane was packed up and moved to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio. Memphis, realizing that it now had nothing, belatedly unveiled a monument to Margaret in October 2011. Shown from the knees up, Margaret looks to be about 13, her head titled skyward, her right hand shading her eyes from the sun, watching the skies for her namesake bomber to return. The bronze statue is by Andrea Lugar, who also sculpted the bronze Elvis Presley on Beale Street.

Statue of Memphis Belle

Overton Park

Address:
Veterans Plaza Drive, Memphis, TN
Directions:
One of several monuments in Veterans Plaza in Overton Park. Park, then walk north into the Plaza. Memphis Belle will be on the right, just past the Korean War memorial.
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In the region:
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September 21, 2018

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