Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Centennial State's Tuskegee Airmen Honored with New Highway Markers

Colorado veterans of the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen were honored for their service today as new signs for the "Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway" were displayed for the first time by Gov. Bill Ritter, Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Russell George and sponsors of the bill that designated the new memorial highway.

Surrounded by uniforms and memorabilia at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, House Assistant Majority Leader Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, unveiled the signs that honor the civil rights pioneers who helped make the unit of African-American pilots and crew members legendary.

"We talk a lot about our World War II veterans. We talk a lot about our heroes. But I can't think of any truer heroes," Carroll said, according to an article in the Rocky Mountain News. "They fought for this country when this country wouldn't fight for them."

From 1941 through 1946, over 990 African-American pilots earned their wings at Alabama's Tuskegee Army Air Field, receiving commissions and pilot wings. Black navigators, bombardiers and gunnery crews were trained elsewhere in the country. Four hundred fifty of the pilots served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

Colorado becomes the second state in the union to honor its Tuskegee Airmen veterans with a highway memorial.

The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway is designated along I-70 between Brighton Boulevard and Tower Road.

Carroll was the house sponsor of the resolution designating the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway.