The Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military airmen, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Thursday, 60 years after their participation in World War II.
Read the Full Transcript
It's more than 60 years since these men answered the call to serve from a segregated America. Today, some 200 surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen and their families were at the Capitol to receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.
Almost 1,000 black combat pilots were trained in a segregated unit at the Tuskegee, Alabama, airbase. Hundreds saw combat in Europe, the Mediterranean, and North Africa.
They flew thousands of sorties, escorting bomber aircraft, with unusually few losses. Dozens died in the fighting, many shot down and held as prisoners.
Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi praised them in the Capitol Rotunda.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: In 1942, the African-American paper, the Pittsburgh Courier, called for a double victory campaign, victory in the fight against fascism abroad and victory in the fight against racism at home. Today, we come together to pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, who, with planes and the power of their example, fought against both of these foes, foreign and domestic.