Tuskegee Airmen Honored At Home, In D.C.

Thursday in Washington, D.C., 200 of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen received America's highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. The airmen are also being fondly remembered back home. Residents say the award is long overdue.

Sid Tatum works on airplanes at Moton Field. This historic airport is home to the Tuskegee Airmen, where they drop in from time-to-time for a chat.

"It's a thrill because you get to sit around personally with them and talk about missions they've been through. They'll put you right there, and you can live it. I find that real exciting and educational," said Tatum, owner of Sid's Aircraft Technologies.

Cedric Westry has numerous autographs from the airmen, and says this group deserves the award.

"I'm glad they're getting all the recognition. I'm glad the museum, and a lot of groundbreaking, is going on around here. They deserve it," Westry said.

The old training hangar is being renovated, and a national monument will soon sit on the site. William "JR" Blu says being at Moton Field puts life into perspective. It reminds him that hard work and dedication are values that haven't disappeared.

"Kids of our generation know things can be done, and we can prosper. We can accomplish big dreams," Blu said.

Tatum is also a commercial pilot, and he said the Tuskegee Airmen have also passed along a bit of wisdom to him.

"They say if you ever get an enemy on your tail, put it to the wall," Tatum said.

The Tuskegee Airmen took to the skies after Chief Charles Alfred Anderson piloted First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on a flight. Between 1940 and 1946, some 1,000 black pilots were trained at Tuskegee. They flew more than 200 combat missions during World War Two.