As we write this, we have packed up the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile theater back into its 53’ semi trailer and are on the road to the west coast! (Look out Washington and Oregon!!) We spent six weeks in the Northeast meeting many new friends and sharing our inspirational message with hundreds of kids and adults. Here’s a quick roundup on where we’ve been!
We started out in Pittsburgh where we set up at the Beaver County Airport. The event was part of the Air Heritage Museum’s Beaver County History Weekend Celebration. The CAF Red Tail Squadron partnered up with members from Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and the Tuskegee Memorial project for the event. Our P-51C Mustang made a special flyover appearance of the dedication ceremony carrying a VIP passenger, the daughter of original Tuskegee Airman Lt Calvin Smith. Our Mustang and Exhibit got lots of positive attention from the local media as well!
Moving on to Maryland, we made a visit to the Carroll County Regional Airport for their open house that included history, activities, events, patriotic music, food and more. For three days leading up to the event, the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit hosted many groups to view the original movie “Rise Above” in our mobile theater and learn about our guiding Six Principles – Aim High, Believe In Yourself, Use Your Brain, Be Ready To Go, Never Quit, Expect to Win.
During the event in Maryland, our P-51C Mustang took a little side trip to Washington, DC to participate in the Arsenal of Democracy, a large-scale flyover of our nation’s Capitol to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. Our Mustang, the Tuskegee Airmen, joined dozens of vintage WWII-era aircraft for this historic event. Each formation that passed was a compelling sight, especially with the awe-inspiring Washington Monument as its backdrop. But when the P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen made its entrance with its formation group, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. These fighters, even 70 years after the fall of the Nazis, elicit a great deal of pride and excitement.
Then we were on to Massachusetts for the Great New England Air Show, hosted by Westover Air Reserve Base and the Galaxy Council. This HUGE event featured the awe-inducing Navy’s Blue Angels, the Canadian Snow Birds and the F-22 Raptor, along with many other stunning military aircraft in the air show and on static display. The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and our P-51C Mustang were a fantastic addition to the event’s line up and droves of people – young and old alike – learned a great deal about the Tuskegee Airmen over the course of this two-day show.
Moving south, we made a stop at the Erie International Airport in Erie, PA. The event was made possible by the Urban Erie Community Development Corporation (UECDC), which provides educational services and employment preparation skills to the impoverished, disadvantaged and at-risk individuals of the Erie Community. Again, we hosted many, many school and youth groups to privately tour the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and see the Mustang up-close on static display. For these very important educational outreach visits, CAF Red Tail Squadron staff and volunteers are on-hand to speak directly to the students, sharing our inspirational message and how it can be applied to their own lives. The kids really enjoy meeting our P-51 pilots in person and learning not only about history, but aviation, science and technology as well.
We wrapped up our Northeast tour with a VERY fun stop at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend in Reading, PA. This fun event featured warbirds, reenactments and performers for history and aviation enthusiasts alike. Our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and P-51C Mustang was the perfect accompaniment for this exciting event.
As I’m sure you’re well aware when you gas up your own vehicle at the pump, taking our RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and P-51C Mustang out on the road (and into the skies!) across the country takes a lot of fuel, which is not cheap commodity these days! But because of donors and supporters like YOU we are able to have a big impact with this unique educational outreach program.
Want to see us in your town? Know where our inspirational message could make an impact? Interested in supporting this great cause? Contact LaVone Kay, CAF Red Tail Squadron marketing director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 928-0188. One-time or recurring donations can be made securely online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/crts or sent to the CAF Red Tail Squadron at 971 Hallstrom Drive, Red Wing, MN 55066.
Ensuring the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is not forgotten is a collective effort, and we are grateful to our donors and supporters to who keep their inspirational message alive!
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.