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Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen

Location: Washington, DC

HONORING THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN -- (House of Representatives - February 09, 2005)

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I am honored and grateful for the opportunity today to recognize the inspirational challenges that the Tuskegee Airmen courageously embraced and surmounted as the first African-American pilots in our Nation's distinguished Armed Forces.

I commend my colleague, MIKE ROGERS, for introducing H. Con. Res. 26, that recognizes the invaluable contributions that these valiant men made to our country and the significant example that they continue to offer us today.

An illustrious group of men who served the United States with honor and bravery, the Tuskegee Airmen defied both fascism abroad and racism at home, as they proved determined to defend our families, communities, and Nation as a whole throughout the course of the Second World War.

As the only unit ever to secure the impressive and unprecedented record of flying over 200 escort missions without the loss of a single bomber aircraft to the enemy, the Tuskegee Airmen confirmed, without a doubt, that skill and determination, not skin color, are the determining factors not only in aviation, but in anything we endeavor to achieve yesterday and today.

The example set by these individuals encouraged millions of Americans of every race to pursue careers in air and space technology.

But it extends even further then this.

The extraordinary feat of the Tuskegee Airmen to overcome segregation and prejudice to go on and become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II established the possibility for all Americans--despite race, culture, religion or gender--to achieve their own dreams and aspirations.

Their courage to confront the constraints of American society contributed to the courage of others to confront the dangers of the war, and today continues to contribute to the courage of Americans to persevere and succeed in the face of adversity and hardships.

Once again, I express my utmost sincere gratitude and admiration for the courage of the Tuskegee Airmen and hope that our colleagues here today will join in this much deserved recognition of their sacrifices and contribution.


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