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Aircraft will fly over OU football game to protest Nazi-stolen art

An organization named Americans for Limited Government is sponsoring an airplane flyover before Saturday's OU and University of Akron football game in Norman.

Before the game, one aircraft will fly above campus with a banner reading "#returnthestolenart" attached to the back of it. Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning said the organization is sponsoring it because it wants OU President David Boren to return "La Bergere," a painting in the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, to what it believes is its rightful owner.

"The Nazi stealing of art from Jewish people and others is one of the most egregious instances in recent history of big government destroying people and taking their stuff," he said. "We need to put an end to that chapter in history."

"La Bergere" was seized by Nazi forces from Crédit Commercial de France and transported to French art museum Jeu de Paume in February 1941. It was originally owned by the family of Leone Meyer, who is currently in a lawsuit with the university in an attempt to regain the painting. 

"This is a simple situation that President Boren could easily handle simply by doing the right thing and returning the stolen art to the family that had it stolen from," Manning said.

"I'm hopeful that this will stir a discussion and (create) more knowledge about what happened so that we end up having a real conversation about morality in our country and what's right and what's wrong." 

OU President David Boren said in a statement that the action by Americans for Limited Government is "highly inappropriate." Read the statement below:

"Such an action is highly inappropriate because the matter is in the courts and in the midst of legal negotiations. It is an unfair attempt to simplify the issue. Two very fine families are involved in this issue. The University is seeking a solution that will be fair to the family that first lost the art and to the family, which purchased it in good faith and gave it to the OU Foundation so that the public could enjoy it free of charge."

Jesse Pound is a journalism and economics senior and the Editor in Chief of The Daily. He has previously worked as a business intern at The Oklahoman and The San Antonio Express-News.

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