Tuskegee Airmen share war stories
The Tuskegee Airmen was group of the very first African American men to fly planes for the U.S. Army, and today, two of them are in Rockford.
Virgil Poole and Beverly Dunjill are living, breathing American history.
Fans at Veteran's Memorial Hall say they're grateful for these men who had to fight more than the war overseas.
"My dad was in a B-17, part the group they had flown and defended, and I might not be here today if it wasn't for some of these gentlemen," says Scott Haugh, who attended the presentation.
James bass recently retired after more than 3 decades in the army reserves. He believes the Tuskegee airmen paved the way for African Americans in the military... But there is still more work to be done. "I encountered some of that segregation I guess you could say there was some people that didn't think that black man belonged, or a Latino for that fact, and I found out that they worked it out, it was hard but they worked it out," says Bass.
Even for those airmen who've passed, they still live on through the legacy they left behind.
Karyn Taylor is the daughter of Dr.Welton Taylor, a Tuskegee pilot. He passed away three months ago. To honor her late father, Karyn presents on the same stage he stood only one year ago.
"Those little 65 horsepower fabric planes with no safety equipment, but with dedicated, slightly demented, daredevil pilots both black and white in the cockpit did way too much to remain invisible any longer. And that's what my dad would have wanted you to know," says Karyn.
Karyn's father wanted future generations to know what he and the other men had gone through during the war.
"I think he never got over being treated just as a colored soldier. It didn't matter how smart or how courageous he was, none of that mattered. The army in 1940 only cared that he was colored," says Karyn Taylor.
"I could almost feel him here, through her. you could tell she admired him," says Bass.