Dublin Villager

Guest column

Tuskegee Airmen deserve recognition at Ohio Statehouse

Tuesday November 20, 2012 9:39 AM

Veterans' Day is a special day to honor our nation's brave men and women that have served our country.

As a Dublin High School student, we have learned about the many sacrifices our veterans have made though history.

This month there will be important opportunities to honor our veterans.

In Ohio, we should do more to honor the Tuskegee Airmen. We should have a memorial at the Ohio Statehouse because more people should know about them.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American fighter pilots to serve in the U.S Army Air Corps.

They overcame great barriers such as segregation and discrimination. They became one of the best fighting groups in the history of World War II.

The Tuskegee Airmen should have a memorial at the Ohio Statehouse for several reasons:

First, to commemorate their dedicated service during and after World War II.

Next, to illustrate their importance in the Civil Rights Movement.

Additionally, to help Ohioans to learn about the Tuskegee Airmen and their connection to Lockbourne Air Field now called Rickenbacker International Airport.

Finally, this is the time to to build a memorial because of the popularity of the movie Red Tails and the Ohio State University Marching Band's recent tribute at halftime of the Ohio State-Illinois football game.

The Tuskegee Airmen earned a reputation as the Red Tails for their fighting in the skies over Europe.

Under the leadership of Colonel Benjamin Davis the Tuskegee Airmen protected and escorted bombing missions against Germany.

The Tuskegee Airmen flew P-51 Fighters and painted the tails of their planes red, earning the nickname the "Red Tails."

The U.S. Army Air Force bombers began to recognize the abilities of and request the Red Tails because of the skills of their pilots.

They knew that their record of protecting the bombers was almost perfect.

The Tuskegee Airmen were recognized for their efforts with 95 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars and 8 Purple Hearts.

Eleanor Roosevelt played a crucial role in the desegregation of the U.S Army.

When Mrs. Roosevelt heard about the mistreatment of black soldiers in the Army she felt very sad for them. She would always talk about it.

Over and over,Mrs. Roosevelt explained: "What a lot we must do to make our war a real victory for democracy."

Ultimately, the U.S. Armed Forces were desegregated through the efforts of Mrs. Roosevelt and President Truman.

The leader of the the Tuskegee airmen Benjamin Davis Jr. described it as a "tremendous moment."

Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Jr, a black West Point graduate, started his U.S military career after graduating 35th out of 276 people in his class.

He applied to the U.S Army Air Corps in 1936. In 1936, the U.S did not have a black unit and therefore, his application was rejected not based on his knowledge or ability, but the color of his skin.

Shorty thereafter, many newspapers jumped on the story claiming that all military units should be open to all African-Americans.

The Tuskegee Airmen were eventually placed in different states.

They moved to Lockbourne Air Base in southeastern Franklin and northern Pickaway County.

Most of Columbus' black citizens came out to support the 477th as they arrived at Lockbourne.

Many of the original Tuskegee Airmen lived in Columbus, raised their families here, and are an important part of the history of Columbus and the United States.

At the Ohio Statehouse, there are many statues that represent people and causes they stood up for.

I think that there is one statue missing from the many in the Statehouse. A statue representing the Tuskegee Airmen.

It is my belief that these men should be in the Statehouse not only for being the first African-American fighter pilots in the U.S Army, but because the Tuskegee Airmen are also a part of Ohio history.

Jacob Harris, a 15-year-old student at Dublin Coffman High School submitted this guest column.

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