I found your research interesting. With all of your knowlege about the subject, I thought you might be able to offer to the world, a definition of Tuskegee Airmen. I thought that I knew, because in grew up in the presence of at least one. Many of my so called "uncles" were also graduates of the flight school in Tuskegee. But since the Congressional Gold Medal ordeal, it appears that the definition of the term has changed. Perhaps you could shed some light in my direction because I am truly confused and frankly disgusted. Somehow individuals who were in anyway associated with the "tuskegee experience" are able to claim the same recognition as those who actually graduated from the flight school and flew the planes during the war. On the one hand, the TA's were honored by the idea of being awarded such a medal. On the other hand, it is like they won the lottery by having 6 numbers, but the individuals with 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 numbers get to share the prize money equally. They have in effect, watered down, or minimized the meaning of this award. Sure, the plight of the mechanics, administrators, ground crews, and the like must have been dificult. But..... did what they accomplished rise to the level of receiving a Congressional Gold Medal, a medal that has only been awarded 300 times in our nations history. This makes a mockery of the entire system. Even individuals that didn't have any ties to that era have been able to get into the ceremony before many of the remaining "real" Tuskegee Airmen. I hope they ask the "Real Tuskegee Airmen" to stand up during the ceremony. The other people present should be ashamed of themselves for taking up space that should have been reserved for the heroes that laid their lives on the line in those planes. There were in my opinion, only 992 "original Tuskegee Airmen" To claim otherwise is to discount the struggle, plight and achievements of the gentlemen who proudly belong to that elite group. Correct me if I am wrong.
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