Your historical perspective will cause you to either challenge or embrace the movie “Red Tails.” Mine did both. I watched “Red Tails” sitting on the edge of my seat. But of course my perspective is different. Yes I know, the movie critics will tell you that the acting wasn’t very good, but thanks to George Lucas the digital animation was excellent. However, the movie itself is bigger than the acting and the digital animation combined.
Events described and portrayed in this movie are a significant part of American history. That part of our history that many people simply don’t know or care to learn about. A part of American history that is ugly and mean and cruel and selfish and still bears hate and discomfort when discussed in many circles.
The movie is based upon the American social climate of 1944 when even those serving our nation in uniform were as equally segregated as the country itself. A time when it was ok to die for this country, but not okay to enter the front door of even many government establishments. The Tuskegee Airmen made a difference and stood for something. We are the benefactors of that something.
The Tuskegee training program prepared black fighter pilots during World War II to eventually escort U.S. bombers and help defeat Hitler. Paramount to the story line is the 1925 Army War College study which suggested that white officers were far superior than black officers, black troops should always remain segregated especially in combat roles and because of their mental incapacity, black officers should never lead white troops.
It wasn’t until the Korean War between 1951-1954 that our military was forced into desegregating units by Presidential Executive Order. It took many more years before black troops and white troops ate, fought, won, sacrificed and died side-by-side. We are better off now because of it.
As a young Army officer I had the pleasure of meeting a few Tuskegee Airmen and getting to know several on a personal level. In hindsight, I under-appreciated the true value they brought to my life AND my career as a military officer, leading America’s men and women without regard to color, race or socioeconomic status.
The movie was 20 years in the making, the story helped shape America into what it is today. Watch the movie, then talk about it. “Nothing is difficult, everything’s a challenge,” Dr. Roscoe Brown, Original Tuskegee Airman.
Brian Butler is a retired army officer, a National War College graduate, proud veteran and President of Vistra Communications, a strategic public relations and management consulting firm with an office in Lutz. Visit Vistra online at www.ConsultVistra.com. Brian is actively involved in the local community and enjoys supporting veteran causes.
*This article will appear in the February 2012 issue of theLOLAnews.com