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TUSKEGEE AIRMEN TO BE HONORED BY U.S.: WWII pioneers will receive Congressional Medal of Honor on March 29.

March 21, 2007 by  
Filed under News

( The Tuskegee Airmen, the elite crew of World War II pilots who destroyed more than 400enemy aircraft while protecting the American and Allied bombers they escorted on missions, will finally receive recognition from the country they served with honor and distinction.

      On March 29, the United States will honor the Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest civilian award bestowed by the federal legislature. Equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the gold medal is awarded to individuals or groups for singular acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement.

      About 300 airmen, out of the nearly 1,000 trained at Tuskegee, will attend the ceremony in the Capitol’s rotunda, along with their families.

      “It’s sort of an open validation of the Tuskegee Airmen, that we fought stereotypes, overcame them and prevailed,” said Roscoe Brown, an 85-year-old Riverdale, N.Y., resident who graduated from the Tuskegee program in 1944. “This is the ultimate when your nation recognizes you.”

      The Tuskegee fliers will join a distinguished group of recipients that includes George Washington, Winston Churchill, Rosa Parks, the Wright brothers and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

      Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., introduced identical bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2005 to give the airmen the congressional medal. The Senate bill passed in October 2005 and the House followed in February 2006. President Bush signed the bill into law last April.

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