PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald along with Board Members and Trustees of the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of the Greater Pittsburgh Region, Inc. announced today that a Tuskegee Airmen Recognition Exhibit will be displayed at the Pittsburgh International Airport in the coming months. The group also announced its September Memorial Dedication events and kicked off its corporate sponsor campaign.
“It’s really appropriate that we make this announcement today on Father’s Day, as we recognize the service and life of these men who dedicated their lives to service of our country,” said County Executive Fitzgerald. “Western Pennsylvania had the largest contingent of enlistees in the Tuskegee Airmen program, a fact that not many people realize. With this new exhibit, we’ll have an opportunity to celebrate these men and their contributions, while bringing more attention to the upcoming memorial dedication events and the corporate sponsor campaign.”
This past week, the Airport Authority Board gave its approval for the erection of a Tuskegee Airmen Recognition Exhibit at Pittsburgh International Airport which will be unveiled in September. Narratives about the Tuskegee Airmen Program will be part of the exhibit, put on tempered glass and mounted for display. Additional plaques will display the names of airmen killed in combat. Corporate sponsors and individuals working on the exhibit will also be recognized as part of the exhibit.
”Our Western Pennsylvania community produced nearly 100 Tuskegee Airmen – it’s a remarkable story. The enlistees trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama at a time when America’s armed forces were segregated,” Regis Bobonis, Sr., Founder and Chairman of the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of Greater Pittsburgh, said. “Many of the Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves in combat, helping to lead to the eventual integration of the military, and many others returned home to embark on productive postwar lives because of that experience.”
Mr. Bobonis has spearheaded efforts to build a memorial dedicated to those who served. Work on the project, which will be built in the Sewickley Cemetery, is expected to be dedicated in September. The dedication is just one of many events scheduled to honor the group. Kim Slater-Wood, a trustee and daughter of Harold C. Slater, a living airman, and Dr. Ed Effort, son-in-law, of a deceased airman, joined in the announcement of events.
“The mission of our organization is to recognize and honor the men and women from Western Pennsylvania who served our country as Tuskegee Airmen,” said Ms. Slater-Wood. “We are committed to preserving the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen through public information and education programs and are grateful for the opportunity to share this story with residents and visitors of this region who visit the Pittsburgh International Airport.”
In addition to the ribbon cutting of the Airport exhibit, between September 5-10, the Carnegie Library and Sewickley Library will also unveil exhibits. Representatives from national Tuskegee Airmen organization are expected to attend. On September 13, a reception and concert featuring Josh White, Jr. at Edgeworth Club in Sewickley will be held. On September 14, “Black Angels over Tuskegee,” an off-Broadway play will debut at the Byham Theater. On September 15, the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial in Sewickley Cemetery will be dedicated as the largest outdoor memorial for Tuskegee Airmen in the country.
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