Tuskegee Airmen to visit Fantasy of Flight

Fantasy of Flight is celebrating National Black History month this month by kicking off its Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series with a visit from famed World War II heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as a student essay contest honoring the aviators’ leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination (LEAD).

During this three-day limited engagement event called “They Dared to Fly,” the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first African-American military aviators, will share their stories of what it was like to serve as a pilot in the military during segregated America. Three Tuskegee Airmen will be appearing, including Leo Gray, 91, Ft. Lauderdale, who served as a consultant on the recently released Lucas “Red Tail” film, as well as Daniel Keel, 89, Leesburg, and George Hardy, 88, Sarasota. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 50 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.

“They Dared to Fly” will be held Thursday, Feb. 9, through Saturday, Feb. 11, and will feature two open-forum/question-and-answer sessions each day at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm followed by meet/greet autograph signings with several of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Symposium events are included in the attraction’s general admission price and are free for annual pass holders.

Students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in the “They Dared to Fly” essay contest. Using the principles of LEAD (leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination), students should describe how the Tuskegee Airmen achieved success or describe how they can use these values to achieve a personal goal of their own. Entries will be judged on overall content, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, legibility and penmanship (as applicable).

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category (grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12). First place will be awarded $100; second place, $75 and third place, $50. Entries must be postmarked or hand delivered prior to 5 p.m. on or before Feb. 20, 2012. Winners will be announced March 16, 2012.

For more information: FantasyOfFlight.com



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