Beer and Bacon Festival at Cranes Roost Park
To Unveil First Monument in the Nation for Red Tail Pilots
12 Red Tail Pilots, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and
City Commissioner Robert Stuart to Attend
Monday, Nov. 11, 2013
Orlando Science Center will erect the first monument in the nation to honor the Red Tail pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2013 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place outside the Science Center at the east entrance facing Loch Haven Park. The event will be attended by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 3 City Commissioner Robert F. Stuart, representatives from Vision of Flight and Orlando Science Center, as well as 12 surviving Red Tail pilots and their families, and additional elected officials and community leaders.
The general public is invited to attend but seating is limited. The ceremony will also include a flyover by a P-51 Mustang — the same type of plane flown by Red Tail pilots during World War II — courtesy of Kermit Weeks, founder of Polk City-based Fantasy of Flight.
The monument will have iconic placement outside the Science Center and welcome visitors with its 12-foot spire and inspirational message. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces. There were 932 pilots trained at Tuskegee, Ala., of whom 355 airmen were considered an elite group of fighter pilots that were sent to various bases in Europe. Flying escort for heavy bombers, the pilots earned an impressive combat record. The Allies called these airmen “Red Tails” or “Red-Tail Angels” because of the distinctive crimson paint predominantly applied on the tail section of the unit’s aircraft.
Today, fewer than 50 Red Tail pilots are still alive. While there are several monuments dedicated to the Tuskegee Airman, the statue at Orlando Science Center is the first in the nation to specifically honor the Red Tail pilots.
The monument is made by possible by Syd Levy of United Trophy Manufacturing, Inc.; the City of Orlando; Vision of Flight; and Orlando Science Center.
“We are honored to be hosting this monument dedicated to the passion, bravery and sacrifice of the Red Tail pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen,” said JoAnn Newman, President and CEO of Orlando Science Center. “This monument celebrates the past while inspiring the future. The example of the Red Tail pilots helps future generations to see all things are possible. The monument welcomes guests into the Science Center, where we can engage them in the exploration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts and careers, including aviation science.”
To complement the festivities, the Science Center will show the 2012 film “Red Tails,” a fictionalized portrayal of the Red Tail pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen, Friday, Nov. 8 – Monday, Nov. 11 in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience. In addition, Lockheed Martin will be on-site with a flight simulator to enable visitors to experience what flying a P-51 Mustang would be like. Guests can also participate in the Egg Drop Challenge, in which guests can engineer a device to safely drop an egg from one floor to the other without it breaking. The activity emphasizes the engineering design process and demonstrates an understanding of aviation concepts such as gravity and lift.
For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/redtails.
ABOUT ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
Located in Orlando, Fla., interactive learning and discovery await within the Science Center’s hundreds of exhibits, programs, labs, films and planetarium shows. The Science Center provides educational opportunities both within and outside its walls including field trips, family science nights at schools and community centers, and other outreach.
Orlando Science Center’s mission is to inspire science learning for life. The Science Center strives to create lasting impacts on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to develop the next generation of creative innovators to fuel the global economy. Fully accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Science Center ranks as the most popular museum destination in the region. Having served more than four million people and provided field trip experiences to more than 800,000 school children since the current facility debuted in 1997, the Science Center offers rich resources for lifelong learning.
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