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North Carolina honors Tuskegee Airmen at Capitol

Posted February 29, 2012

— The state of North Carolina paid tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots to serve in the U.S. military, at the State Capitol in Raleigh Wednesday.

Four of the original Tuskegee Airmen who now live in North Carolina were invited to the Capitol with their families and were honored by Gov. Beverly Perdue in a special ceremony.

Airmen Terry Bailey, Harvey Alexander, Harold Webb and Joe Burrucker had to fight for the right to fight for their country, Perdue said. By proving themselves as fighters and patriots, they helped break down racial barriers, she added. 

For decades, black servicemen were denied leadership roles and specialty training in the military.

That didn't stop Alexander from overcoming segregation to join military ranks.

Tuskegee Airmen from NC recognized in special ceremony Tuskegee Airmen from NC recognized in special ceremony

"It served me very well. I learned a skill and learned to fly," he said. "As I was flying up in the clouds and above this earth, for the first time in my life, I felt free."

Perdue also honored six other North Carolina airmen posthumously, including Andrew Williams, whose daughter attended the ceremony.

"My father was the type of person who was always positive (in) overcoming any obstacle," said Andrea Williams.

She learned a lot from her father, who went on to be an educator, including love of country and the motto, "Always do your best. No matter what. You can always achieve," she said.

The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission also saluted the veterans for their service and the contributions they made to the nation and the world.

The airmen trained at a segregated air base in Tuskegee, Ala., and were supported by black men and women on the ground. Their exploits in World War II were chronicled in the recently released movie "Red Tails."

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  • Sherlock Mar 1, 2012

    this is a great group and deserve everything they receive.. Thanks for a great job and your service.

  • driverkid3 Mar 1, 2012

    They should have been honored years ago. It's a shame that they had to wait this long for something they richly deserve.

  • Krimson Mar 1, 2012

    Thank you Sirs for fighting for this Country, and also for fighting against it... The bravery you showed in war will never be forgotten, but the demonstration that people of different color can do and be as much as any other may never be fully appreciated. Thank you for your service, we will continue to carry the torch...

  • doubletrouble Mar 1, 2012

    I'd like them to do a movie on the 761st Tankers. I think that would be a really good way to wake up the public about the unsung heros of WWII, that being tankers(and TD units) in general, as well as the members of the all black armored division. Armor crew losses were played down during the period, the crews trained that they had the best equipment in the world, which was far from the case, especially later in the war in Europe. One should read the book "Death Traps".

  • 007KnightRider Mar 1, 2012

    Thanks gentlemen for the service you have given to our great country. God bless you all!

  • Ex-Republican Feb 29, 2012

    " but I am a citizen of the world and do not bow down to any government or flag. ( or religion)" Monca

    So, citizen of the world, do you reside in a country? To which government do you pay taxes? When you get a passport to travel, is there an option to check World Citizen?

  • warbirdlover Feb 29, 2012

    I think that the Tuskeegee Airmen deserve every honor bestowed on them. We should also remember the 442 Regimental Combat Team, made up of Japanese Americans. They were herded into Concentration Camps, yet still wanted to prove they were not the enemy but proud Americans. They saw some of the worst combat in Italy, and recieved numerous decorations for VALOR. They are the most decorated unit of their size in WWII. Don't forget about the 761st All Black Armored Division. They all shined brightly against racism and Jim Crow attitudes.

  • Doctor Dataclerk Feb 29, 2012

    Great bunch of Americans who should be honored at every opportunity. Thank you sirs!

  • trekkie13 Feb 29, 2012

    soyousay states: "of course they don't, trolling isn't about that"

    I am not trolling but rather stating my honest opinion.

  • soyousay Feb 29, 2012

    using those words does not sway or change my stance and premise.
    ..

    of course they don't, trolling isn't about that

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