Staunton's proud history includes a little-known connection to a group of war heroes who broke the color barrier.
This weekend the city will honor surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen and a pair of Stauntonians who were part of their ranks. The Tuskegee Airmen made history by fighting two wars at the same time. They fought to become America's first African-American military pilots, and put their skills into service during World War II.
Gypsy Hill Park has a memorial to Captain William Green Jr., a Staunton native who flew 123 missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. Two surviving pilots from that same division will be Staunton on Sunday to share their experiences. The ceremony will feature music and a color guard ceremony all to highlight the airmen's sacrifice.
Rita Wilson of the event committee said, "Our young people need to know what it was back in those days to break the color barrier because these guys had to get their own unit. It was segregated. They were not recognized. And when the recognition finally came, people found out how great they were."
The event will also honor mechanic Ralph Davis whose work kept the airmen in the sky, and whose son still lives in Staunton. The event begins at 1:30 Sunday afternoon at the Gypsy Hill Park gymnasium.
There's no admission fee but volunteers will accept donations to benefit the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation.