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Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson (D-104) and Senator James Skoufis (D-39) announce legislation (A704/S1847) designating the fourth Thursday of March as Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day.
Jacobson said, “It is high time the Tuskegee Airmen were appropriately honored, both for their bravery and valor in combat during World War II and for heroically serving their country at a time when Black soldiers were only allowed to serve in segregated units.”
In 1940, the Tuskegee Airmen were founded when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the Army Air Corps to form an African American flying unit. The unit was based at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and went on to become a highly decorated squadron.
“In Europe and North Africa, these airmen were rightfully hailed as heroes for their courageous efforts in combatting Nazi forces,” Jacobson said. “Upon returning home to the United States, however, these patriotic soldiers were too often treated as second-class citizens.”
Skoufis said, “The Tuskegee Airmen fought with courage and dignity on behalf of our country and they deserve to be duly recognized for that. As the first Black Americans to serve as aviators, the Tuskegee airmen saved lives during World War II and paved the way for thousands of airmen and women who followed in their footsteps – and they did so despite facing rampant discrimination back home. I’m proud to carry this bill in the Senate and join Assemblyman Jacobson in celebrating these brave Americans.”
Jacobson concluded, “I am proud to have been asked to carry the bill due to the high number of retired Tuskegee airmen or their descendants who live in my Assembly district. It is my hope that we can pass this important legislation during Black History month and celebrate New York’s first Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day on March 25, 2021.”
This bill would make Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day permanent. Currently, the legislature must pass an annual renewal of the designation.