Happenings 3

groupThis page chronicles selected engagements from April 2004 through the current date.

My father continues speaking and lecturing to students and groups about the role of theTuskegee Airmen and their contribution to American freedom at many educational events, conferences, and celebrations. He devotes his time to giving the Tuskegee Airmen long overdue recognition. As “one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen”, according to a program distributed at a past speaking engagement (which incidently, he got a kick out of ), he wishes to educate and provide mentors for today’s youth.

Through the efforts of people such as my father, history books and school curriculums are expanding to include information about the Tuskegee Airmen and african-american contributions throughout our history. I try to update this page regularly as things occur and opportunities present themselves. Keep checking back for new information!

Regularly participating in special speaking engagements and lectures, my father has given interviews for many newspaper articles and books regarding the Tuskegee Airmen. He may be one of the last surviving, but he is certainly young at heart! He is thrilled by the many opportunities that have come his way.

What follows are some of his escapades and adventures, culminating in the distinctive and well over-due honor given to the Tuskegee Airmen on Thursday, March 29, 2007. The presentation by George W. Bush, of the Congressional Medal of Honor!

“War on the Home Front” – a book published by Times-Citizen Communications

This is a book covering WWII stories and letters of soldiers and families from Hardin County. Forward – “This book is dedicated to the citizens of Iowa Falls (Iowa) who gave a portion of their lives to protect our home. Whether they served in the armed forces or were left here to worry. Their selfless dedication guaranteed that we, the future generations, would live in freedom. My father’s story “Joe Gomer: Former I.F. Resident Recalls His Part in History” appears on page 148.

Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa), Ellsworth College, Iowa Falls, Iowa – April 30, 2004

The Board of Trustees of Ellsworth College presented my father with an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities at their 114th commencement ceremonies held on May 1, 2004. ECC was his old alma mater. My entire family was present to share in this wonderful event, and are very proud of my father’s accomplishments.

After an introduction by Joe White, a member of the Board of Trustees, my father stood to recieve his degree to the roar of a standing ovation which brought tears to my eyes. He kept his acceptance speech very short. He held up his degree and told the audience, “I will add this to my dash. And for those of you who do not know what I mean by my dash, it is the dash on your tombstone between the day you were born and the day you died.” Short, sweet and humble. That’s my dad! We also got to meet a few very good friends that my father grew up with, which was quite wonderful

Later that day, my father had us drive by the house he grew up in. We knocked on the door, and the owner recognized him from a previous visit. She let the whole family in to her home and showed us around. Not a lot had changed, though the new owner has gradually been completing upgrades. We enjoyed my father’s stories about growing up in the house, where everything had been situated, and we drove around town and he told us where he used to play as a child and so forth. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

An article appeared on the front page of the Iowa Times Citizen newspaper titled, “ECC honors one of it’s own”. A heartfelt thank you to the gentleman who gratefully thanked my father at the commencement, and later, secretly paid for our meal at the restaurant afterwards where we went for a celebratory dinner. Many blessings to you!

Skidmore Freedom Fest – Missouri – September 9 – 11, 2005

My father will be a guest speaker at this yearly event in Skidmore, Missouri. The Skidmore Freedom Fest is an annual, small-town patriotic celebration of America’s Freedom and a salute to America’s Veterans which is held each year in the small northwest Missouri community of Skidmore. Originating in 1988 as a way for a WWII father to express a heartfelt “welcome home” to his Vietnam veteran son, the event has developed throughout the past 16 years to become, in the hearts of many of its participants, one of the finest, free, family-oriented patriotic celebrations in the country. Each year, Freedom Fest honors a particular group of veterans. For more information, go to www.skidmorefreedomfest.com.

Congressional Medal of Honor – Washington, D.C. – March 29, 2007

The Tuskegee Airmen will be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal March 29th in recognition of their unique military achievements and the reform of the U.S. Armed forces their accomplishments inspired. The award, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, will be presented in the U.S. Capital Rotunda. The Red Tail Project is a sponsor of a reception honoring the Tuskegee Airmen following the ceremony.

Designed by the U.S. Mint, the award medal containing 15-ounces of gold will be housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and made available for temporary display at museums around the country. Bronze replicas will be stamped for sale to the public.

The legislation conferring the Congressional Gold Medal on the Tuskegee Airmen in recognition of their heroism in World War II was signed into law April 11, 2006. View the full house resolution awarding the medal to the Tuskegee Airmen.

A video of the Gold Medal Ceremony is available from the C-Span store for $29.95.

Please contact author for further information regarding this web site, use of information and digital photography, speaking engagements, and inclusion in school curriculums.

Copyright – November 1997 – 2011.
Please contact me for permission if you wish to utilize any text or photographs which appear on this web site. All rights reserved.