November 11, 2018
A hundred years ago World War I ended when the Armistice with Germany went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The following year President Wilson observed the first Armistice Day and in 1954 President Eisenhower made it Veterans Day to honor to all veterans. On this Veterans Day The Gazette spent an afternoon in Tuskegee, Alabama, home of the legendary Airmen. The National Park Service maintains an historic site here and says this in their brochure:
“On a warm July day in 1941, 13 young African American men arrived at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to begin their training as Army Air Corps pilots. They were a long way from earning their wings, and not all would make it, but the chance to try was itself a victory, something for which African Americans had long fought. Though they had exhibited ability and courage in military conflicts from the Revolutionary War to World War I, most African Americans were either denied the chance to serve or assigned menial noncombatant roles with no chance for advancement.
“The idea that they could meet the high standards of military aviation generated the fiercest resistance of all. In their training at Moton Field, however, and in combat during World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen conclusively demonstrated the skill, bravery, quick thinking, and coolness under pressure demanded of a combat pilot. As they had done so many times before, when finally given the opportunity, African Americans flew in the face of assumptions, proving they were equal to the task.”
The Gazette gratefully dedicates this post to all of America’s Veterans and offers these photos taken today at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in their honor.