May 26, 2009 |
Throughout the region yesterday, old soldiers pulled on lovingly preserved uniforms and appeared in parades as they do each May, serving as living representatives of dead comrades. The country's toughest people conduct the most moving ceremonies, as though war and sentiment go hand in hand. From large parades attracting thousands - such as one in Media - to smaller gatherings in places like Lumberton, people took time away from hitting the malls and grilling meats to contemplate larger things: freedom, battle, sacrifice.
March 31, 2009 |
George D. Thompson, 93, of Philadelphia, former host of a Jenkintown radio show, died of complications from a broken hip Wednesday at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby. After a career with the U.S. Postal Service, said his daughter, Juanita, he produced and directed George Thompson and Friends, a program of sacred music on WIBF-FM, in the 1980s. In 1941, Mr. Thompson enlisted in the Army Air Corps, trained as a mechanic, and was assigned to Tuskegee (Ala.) Army Airfield to work with the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American flying unit in World War II. "When they realized that he was an accomplished musician," his daughter said, "they switched him from being a mechanic" to being a trombone player in the Airmen's band.
January 19, 2009 |
The invitation to tomorrow's inauguration sent to members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black units of World War II pilots, is an important reminder of the long road America has traveled from the era of segregation to the election of the first African American president. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on a little-known episode involving the Tuskegee Airmen and the Holocaust - and on the question of how the new president will respond to genocide in our own time. Defying racist War Department officials who regarded them as inferior and did not want them to fly, the Tuskegee Airmen scored extraordinary achievements in battle.
July 18, 2008 |
Seventeen-year-old Eugene J. Richardson Jr. had been interested in aviation his whole life, but realized actually flying was a real long shot. As an African American, he had little chance of getting to fly in the military, which was the way to go, considering that World War II was raging. Then one day, what seemed like bad luck turned into good fortune. Richardson was riding in a truck, helping his driver/partner deliver jukeboxes in Center City. The driver got into a fender bender and the white policeman who stopped them asked for IDs. "Usually, you produced a draft card, but I was only 17 - the draft started at 18 - and I didn't have one," said Richardson, now a retired Philadelphia teacher and principal.
July 18, 2008
How is patriotism measured? Is it in how well one recites the Pledge of Allegiance? In whether the American flag is permanently attached to the siding of one's home? Or in how close to perfect your attendance has been for each and every election (yes, even the local fire district's)? Service to country has been a reliable yardstick for centuries, military service in particular. By that standard, Philadelphia's streets this weekend will be walked by some convention attendees who are among the most patriotic Americans this country has known.
April 18, 2008 |
Aaron C. Bass, 87, a retired aeronautical engineer formerly of LaMott, Cheltenham Township, died of cancer Sunday at the Hill at Whitemarsh. Mr. Bass grew up in Jackson, Tenn. While earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he joined the ROTC and received flight training with the Tuskegee Airmen. He learned to fly Piper Cub planes and hoped to serve with the Tuskegee Airmen in combat during World War II, his son Aaron Jr. said. Instead the Army assigned him to a signal battalion, and he used his engineering skills to build signal lines in France, Belgium and Germany.
April 24, 2007 |
Sixty years and eight days after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, the Phillies got their chance to honor not only a pioneer but also an era. The team was rained out in its first attempt to celebrate the Brooklyn Dodgers great on Jackie Robinson Day on April 15. The Phillies conducted a pregame ceremony last night with the four surviving members of the Philadelphia Stars, whose players preceded Robinson in the Negro leagues....
April 15, 2007 |
Today is Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball. To honor the famed Brooklyn Dodgers infielder's breaking of baseball's color barrier 60 years ago today, the Phillies and visiting Houston Astros will salute Robinson most vividly at Citizens Bank Park. All uniformed personnel will wear jerseys with 42, Robinson's number, which was retired throughout the game 10 years ago. The Phillies will mark the anniversary in other ways before the 1:35 p.m. game. They include: A salute to Bill Cash, Mahlon Duckett, Stanley Glenn and Harold Gould, the four living members of the Philadelphia Stars, the Negro league team that played here from 1934 to 1950 and won the 1934 Negro National League pennant.
April 9, 2007 |
When it came to integration in the 1940s and 1950s, the Phillies were cellar-dwellers - the last of the National League's eight teams to use a black player. Now, they're seemingly trying to make up for lost time. Not only is the team planning an extensive celebration of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier, the team continues its efforts to cultivate the game's popularity among African Americans in order to increase the fan base and lure talented black athletes back to the national pastime.