Just in time for Veterans Day, one of the last living members of the Tuskegee Airmen arrived in Dallas for a special honor.
Brigadier General Charles Edward McGee arrived at the Dallas Executive Airport on Wednesday.
“My flight was good. Dealing with today’s technology, it was really smooth and really nice,” McGee said.
The landing spot was significant as it is where the Commemorative Air Force Museum’s new education center is located. That facility has a new theater named in part after the former fighter pilot.
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It’s called the Charles McGee and Donald Hinz theater. Hinz is considered a devoted Commemorative Air Force member.
He talked with NBC 5 about his place in history.
“If I really look back and say I was able to serve with so many people who said I couldn’t or shouldn’t. but we served our country, and I was doing something that I enjoyed. All is well and ends well I guess is another way of saying it,” McGee said.
He also reflected on the importance of Veterans Day.
“Veterans Day is so important because there is a time to recognize those who have served and those who gave full measure in their service. Also, to thank those who help veterans in various programs. It’s a great day for the country because of the many opportunities to thank those.”
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of primarily Black military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II. They were educated at the Tuskegee Institute, now known as Tuskegee University in Alabama. Before they served, no Black person had ever been a United States pilot, even though they had tried and were turned down. It was because of that rejection that Black men who wanted to serve and those who advocated for them, continued to work to help those who wanted to enlist.
“You wonder why so many thought we were second-class citizens. Fortunately, we were given the opportunity. We took advantage of the opportunity and our performance brought about a change. The leadership we had wanted to make sure that we took advantage of the opportunity. Things turned out better for the country.”
McGee shared this advice with young people.
“I give them like all my four P’s. Perceive, prepare, perform, and persevere. Dream your dream, find your talents,”