Melrose was honored Monday night by the presence of a true civil rights pioneer: Dr. Harold May of the Tuskegee Airmen. Dr. May was 15 on the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and he spoke directly to the teenagers in the room, saying that it was up to them to heal the divisions in America today, so that 75 years from now, people would look back and say they were there when their country needed them. He really took the historical movement that he was part of and put it into a modern perspective. I was proud to present him with a key to the City of Melrose, and just as proud that such a large and enthusiastic crowd came out to see him.
One very special moment was when Melrose High graduate Capt. Joe Nunley, who recently returned from Turkey and is deployed with a unit that was named in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, presented Dr. May with a patch and a challenge coin from his unit.
The program also included a great historical video and a brief talk by Col. Franklin Gaillard, who spoke of the impact the Tuskegee Airmen had on him and the importance of education and dedication to your work. I want to thank the Tuskegee Airmen’s organization, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., for bringing us this wonderful program, and I also want to commend Lisa Lord and the students of the Veterans’ Memory Project, the Veterans Services Office, and the Veterans Advisory Board for making this such a great event.