To commemorate the District of Columbia's veterans on Veterans Day, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will honor two of the original Tuskegee Airmen -- D.C. residents William Fauntroy, Jr. and Major Louis Anderson -- on Monday, November 11, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., at the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum (1925 Vermont Ave NW). She and Mayor Vincent Gray will lay a wreath at the African American Civil War Memorial, a National Park Service memorial commemorating the 200,000 African Americans who fought in the Civil War. The ceremony will continue across the street at the African American Civil War Museum, where Norton will present the Tuskegee Airmen's Congressional Gold Medal to 88-year-old Major Anderson, a member of the elite service whose ground support kept the Tuskegee Airmen flying and for whom the medal has now been authorized. Also speaking will be William Fauntroy, Jr. (brother of former D.C. Congressman Walter Fauntroy), one of the Tuskegee Airmen who was honored in the 2007 ceremony where the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress. Fauntroy, a native Washingtonian who grew up here when the District had no home rule and came home to no congressional representation, graduated from Howard University School of Engineering and Architecture, and became an engineer who helped build the Metro system. Dr. Frank Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, and Kimberly Perry, Executive Director of DC Vote, will also speak. Following the ceremony, the museum will host a reception for all attendees.
"Major Louis Anderson was born in Florida, where he had few basic rights, entered the segregated Air Force, and came to live in the District, where, ironically, he still does not have his full rights as an American citizen," said Norton. "He and Mr. Fauntroy will speak briefly about their lives. Both exemplify the best of the service our residents have given to our country, even without their full citizenship rights. With energy fresh from our struggle that succeeded in getting the D.C. budget extricated from the federal budget fight this year, Veterans Day this year naturally brings into focus the city's ongoing struggle for complete budget freedom from Congress. Veterans Day has special meaning to the District of Columbia because of the tragic irony that the District's members of the Armed Services who died in war and those who came home from war secured freedoms for citizens of other nations, but returned to our nation's capital without the basic freedoms all other citizens of our country enjoy. At our commemoration on Monday, we will be especially proud to present Major Louis with his medal, and to stand with him, William Fauntroy, Jr., our other Tuskegee Airmen in attendance, our members of today's military, and our veterans as we continue our city's momentum towards full budget autonomy."