A man with no sense of his past has no future as he is destined to the same pitfalls of his forefathers. With that thought in mind, I contemplate my past, present, and future. It is something that I usually do as Black History Month draws near. My own barometer for “ how goes it?”
In my lifetime, African Americans have gone from manning the washroom to ruling the boardroom. We have struggled past Rosa Parks’ seat on that bus to Barack Obama’s seat on Air Force One. Yes much has been accomplished during the past 50 or so years, but there is still a long way to go.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr provided us with the perfect barometer when he dreamed of the day when we would all be judged by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin. Don’t lay down your tools now ...There is still work to be done...
Three years ago, Captain Freeman wrote about the Tuskegee Airmen. This year, he sent us his thoughts on Black History Month, and we thought his new material goes well with the original post below.
There I was...(that's typical of how most pilot stories begin) so, there I was, standing in the Capital Rotunda watching as the President of the United States and Speaker of the House, among others, recognized the men and women of a World War II Military Unit. They were honoring these people with a Congressional Gold Medal Award. The rotunda was absolutely packed with an overflow crowd that spilled into the Statuary Hall. I was thrilled that Southwest Airlines offered me the opportunity to attend this invitation-only affair proclaiming our Nation's respect and gratitude for their jobs well done sixty years prior. Many of the men and women being honored had remained in the military after the war and had distinguished themselves as Senior Master Sergeants, Lieutenant Colonels and Generals (including a 4-Star among them). Most of the unit, however, had left the military and distinguished themselves as business leaders, principals, and college professors. Some even became mayors of major cities. The Members of this unit have the distinction of being the only Bombers Escort Unit to never lose a bomber to enemy fighters, and they were the first U.S. pilots to shoot down a German jet fighter. They fought the war against Germany, the war of acceptance, and the war against racism, and they distinguished themselves in each arena. They are the men of distinction. They are the Tuskegee Airmen; my friends and my heroes.