PA Veterans Museum and JPL Productions Take Tuskegee Airmen Story to Congress
August 12, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education NewsWashington, D.C. – Several members of the U.S. Congress and dozens of military and legislative representatives recently experienced the heroic story of the Tuskegee Airmen in the JPL-produced documentary, “On Freedom’s Wings, Bound for Glory.” The PA Veterans Museum, who sponsored the film and arranged for the congressional screening, wanted to encourage lawmakers to ask educators in their districts to incorporate the documentary into classrooms across the nation.
The gathering for the July 25th screening included members of the original Tuskegee Airmen as well as congressional leaders, Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, Congresswoman Donna Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
"This is the kind of story that will motivate our young people," said Congressmen Weldon. “[The Tuskegee Airmen] are role models for young people to look to as to what they can achieve.”
After the showing of the documentary, some of the Tuskegee Airmen met with Senator Barrack Obama of Illinois, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. The Tuskegee Airmen gave special thanks to Senator Levin and Congressman Rangel for proposing a bill to award the Airmen with the Congressional Gold Award next month.
"It is so exciting, not just for black airmen, but for America to see the extent in which people can love this country,” said Congressmen Rangel.
"Tuskegee Airmen have been an inspiration to so many of us. They signify the best of Americans, overcoming obstacles and prejudices and barriers to achieve their dreams and serve their country. The more we can spread the word to kids and adults across America and across the world, the better off we will be," said Senator Obama.
“On Freedom’s Wings, Bound for Glory” pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen who served our country and educates younger generations about the critical role these valiant men played in preserving our freedoms.
The film tells the story of the famed Airmen through the testimonials of three highly-decorated veterans of this pioneering group of African-American aviators. As a result of manpower shortages and mounting political pressures at the onset of World War II, African-American soldiers were mobilized to help with the war effort. At that time, all branches of the armed services were racially segregated due to the then widely held belief that African-Americans did not possess the mental or physical abilities to lead or fight in combat.
The Tuskegee Airmen proved beyond a doubt that they were ready, willing and highly capable of serving their country in wartime. From June 1944 until war's end in May 1945, the airmen protected American bombers by escorting them on dangerous bombing missions over Germany. In total, they flew 200 missions without the loss of a single plane to enemy aircraft.
Their courage under fire and their proven combat flying abilities eventually persuaded the post-war U.S. Air Force to desegregate. In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order making desegregation the official policy throughout the entire U.S. military.
“JPL is proud to be involved in a film of such historical significance and relevance. Our staff of researchers, writers, film and audio specialists enjoys producing long-format educational pieces that utilize our expertise in history and the military,” said executive producer, Sandra Anderson.
JPL’s relationship with the Museum began when the Harrisburg-based communications company created content for the interactive, educational kiosks for the Museum‘s grand opening last year. JPL Productions is currently producing three additional documentaries for the PA Veterans Museum. For more information on JPL Productions, visit www.jplprod.com or call (717) 558-8048. For more information on the PA Veteran’s Museum or to find out how you can order a copy of the documentary, visit www.paveteransmuseum.org or call (610) 566-0788.