By Edward Leyden, Esq.
During the Second World War, more than eight million Americans were called to serve in the United States Army and its then Air Force. Through their joint exertions and sacrifices, these men and women — our own parents and grandparents — put an end to Hitler and the greatest evil in our civilization’s entire history.
An unquestioned elite among these brave eight million were those select few who ultimately became the 100th Fighter Group — the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. Even before facing and defeating the most adept pilots and leading-edge planes the Luftwaffe, in its desperate quest for survival, could throw at them, the men of the 100th had to first face and defeat the oppressive morass of racism and bigotry. From both battles, these courageous few emerged victorious and wreathed in American Glory. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that the Civil Rights movement took its first deliberate and successful steps in the early 1940s and in Tuskegee.
As the proud son of my late father, who as a member of the 603 Tank Destroyer Battalion, and then, the communications staff of General Patton’s Third U.S. Army, stood arm-in-arm with the men of the 100th in defeating Hitler, I salute the brave warriors who are the Tuskegee Airmen. May their legend never die!