Rockford- The Forest City is getting a visit from African American World War 2 veterans. These men fought wars on two fronts.
United States Marine Vet Edwin Fizer says “whites were separated from blacks, so we were even separated in the service. And that was one war, the fight against that type of bigotry. And then we shipped out and went over seas.”
Those battles in the Pacific led to some near death experiences for Fizer. He says “when bullets are coming at you, if they don’t hit you, you don’t have a fear. You don’t really know.”
Oscar Lawton-Wilkerson is honored to have served his country as a Tuskegee Airman. A group of African American pilots who fought in World War Two. He says more than half of them didn’t make it through training.
He recalls “the idea was to flunk them out because they didn’t feel that blacks could learn to be fighter pilots and have the courage, the knowledge, the fortitude, to stay with the regimen that was required to be a combat pilot.”
These men paved the way for a lot others to fight in the service, and gave a lot for their country during a time of racial segregation.
The even is Saturday February 22, at Veterans Memorial Hall from Noon-4pm. Admission is 5 dollars but free for seniors and students with a valid ID. Those on hand will get a chance to hear these veterans tell their stories first hand.