Wednesday, November 18, 2009


In a November 15 article Andre Salles, a news reporter with The Beacon-News in Aurora, Illinois notes that every World War II veteran has a story worth telling. Salles writes about Aurora resident, William "Paul" Vaughn who Salles says has a perspective on the war shared by very few – being black in a segregated Army fighting for freedoms he did not have. William "Paul" Vaughn has a perspective on the war shared by very fewUnited we stood; segregated he served :: Beacon News :: Local News

Another veteran's story worth telling is the story of Tuskegee Airman Quentin Smith, written by John WolfeQuentin Smith fought World War II on two fronts :: Opinion :: Post-Tribune Tuskegee Airmen were black pilots trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Smith's perspective on the war is similar to Vaugh's perspective -- these men were struggling to break the color barrier.

Nearly 909,000 black men and women served in the Army during World War II, according to writer Eric L. Wesson. Among them was James H. Jones, 96, who was drafted in 1941 and served in the 761st Tank Battlion, 3rd Army under General George Patton. Black Soldiers Played Key Roles In America’s Battles

Historians have observed that Patton did not believe blacks were qualified to fight but he desperately needed every available man to defeat Germany – the 761st joined the fight along with the all-black 92nd Infantry Division. One of the men from the 92nd was a 29-year-old soldier from Cincinnati, Ohio named John R. Fox; he was killed in action on the day after Christmas in 1944. Fifty-three years later, Fox was awarded the highest honor a combat soldier can earn - the Medal of Honor.Black vets 'have story to tell'

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There are many more stories that need to be told. Writers are finding black World War II veterans who are eager to share their stories. It is a race against time -- They are stooped with age, walk with canes, walkers or are wheelchair bound -- Soon their voices will be silent, but their stories will keep them alive for future generations.
Copyright © Sharon D. Powell, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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