The context of a Mann

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On Friday, May 23, Hiram Mann was laid to rest. After 92 years his body had given all it had to give.

He was my friend. I’m sorry to say I was not at the ceremony with his family, his illustrious peers, and others who witnessed a U.S Air Force honor guard attending to his interment. Rather, I was a thousand miles away attending the wedding of my son. It was a wonderful wedding, but I must admit, Hiram was on my mind the whole time. He was not your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill kind of guy.

If you ever find yourself searching for an example of how one man can make a profound and lasting difference in the world, consider Hiram’s life as proof.

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Red Tail pilots to be honored with monument at Orlando Science Center

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ORLANDO, Fla. — On Monday, Nov. 11, Mike McKenzie, founder of Vision of Flight, hopes to give some long overdue recognition to a group of African-American World War II  pilots. Known as the Red Tail Pilots, these Tuskegee Airmen played a quintessential role in U.S. aviation history in spite of the racial discrimination they faced at the time. While the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded a Gold Medal by Congress at a 2007 ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, the Red Tail Pilots have yet to receive such an honor.

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NBAA to honor Tuskegee Airmen

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The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will bestow the organization’s highest award — NBAA’s 2012 Meritorious Service to Aviation — to the Tuskegee Airmen, Oct. 31, during a general session of the association’s Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012) in Orlando, Florida.

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Red Tails Ford Mustang ready for auction

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Every year, Ford Motor Co. designs a one-of-a-kind Mustang to auction at EAA AirVenture. For 2012, Ford has created a “Red Tails Edition” Mustang to honor the famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American aviators in the United States Army Air Corps. This special Mustang will be auctioned off on Thursday, July 26, to benefit the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program.

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They dared to fly

Leo Gray, 91, (left) and Daniel Keel, 89, enjoy a peaceful moment before stepping onto the dais to speak about their experiences as Tuskegee Airmen. The two have known each other since childhood, when the were both members of the same Boy Scout troop in Boston.

For three days in early February the south hangar at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, was packed with visitors. They were seated in long rows of folding chairs, and stood on the gleaming painted hangar floor. Everyone faced the raised platform near the eastern wall, paying rapt attention to the reminiscing of three elderly gentlemen who had remarkable tales to tell.

This was the first installment of the 2012 Legends and Legacies symposium series at the central Florida aviation-themed attraction. “They Dared to Fly” focused on the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, and to tell that story accurately, three graduates of the program sat at the dais and shared their memories and experiences during two sessions each day.

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