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Black Airmen, Frail but Proud, Hail Another Pioneer

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:14 AM
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Black Airmen, Frail but Proud, Hail Another Pioneer
Published: January 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — Their red carriage coasted by the presidential reviewing stand in just a few seconds, and it is not clear whether President Barack Obama even saw them. But 10 of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen beamed as they waved and tipped their caps to the first black president.

It was a long road to the inauguration for these members of the airmen, the legendary all-black fighting force, originally 16,000 pilots and ground crew, from World War II. Only 330 are still alive. All were invited to the event by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and after elaborate preparations, about 200 came. Now in their 80s and 90s, most were frail and bundled up against the cold in wheelchairs.

“All of the things that are wrong can get washed away,” Spann Wilson, 92, an airman who flew P-51 fighters over North Africa and Europe, said as he listened to the Marine Band playing at the Capitol ...
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