WASHINGTON (WJZ)—They were the first black Americans to fly for the U.S. military. Despite segregation, the Tuskegee airmen served with honor.
Andrea Fujii reports they were honored at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
A hero’s welcome for four deserving veterans.
The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military pilots to serve in World War II, faced daily discrimination.
“‘We don’t train black cadets here,’ so they sent me to Tuskegee, Ala. where this experimental program was started,” said Calvin Spann, Tuskegee airman.
They arrived at BWI-Marshall airport from Dallas and are on their way to the 40th annual Tuskegee Convention in Washington.
Many black Americans were never recognized for their wartime sacrifices, fighting for freedoms they didn’t have themselves and contributing to the integration of the U.S. military.
“When we went into the officers’ club, we were told blacks were not allowed in the officers’ club,” said Robert McDaniel, Tuskegee airman.
Now in their 80s and 90s, these men say it’s important to share their story with younger generations.
“We appreciate the fact that our country appreciated the services that we gave to our country,” McDaniel said. “It came belatedly, but it came.”
The Tuskegee Airmen Convention runs through Aug. 7 at the National Harbor.
In 2007, President Bush presented the Tuskegee airmen with Congressional Medals of Honor.