Tuskegee Airmen to Attend Inaugural

Invitation recognizes their contribution to historic event
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2008 6:22 AM CST
Lt. Col. John Mulzac holds his Congressional Gold Medal and a portrait of himself as he describes his days as a Tuskegee Airman.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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(Newser) – The Tuskegee Airmen of WWII have been invited to the inauguration of the nation's first black president, the New York Times reports. Barack Obama has acknowledged his debt to the elite all-black force, whose heroes fought for a country that discriminated against them. Now in their 80s and 90s, it's unclear how many of the roughly 330 surviving members can make the trek to Washington.

"I didn’t believe I’d live long enough to see something like this," says a Tuskegee fighter pilot who flew missions over Italy. “I would love to be there, I would love to be able to see it with my own eyes.” Another called Obama’s election the "culmination" of their struggles.