‘Meet the African-American Veterans from World War II’

Event runs 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, at Veterans Memorial Hall

Staff Report

Rockford’s Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., downtown, will host a Black History Month Celebration titled “Meet the African-American Veterans from World War II” from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22.

Veterans Memorial Hall will bring together members of the Montford Point Marines, Tuskegee Airmen and the 761st tank unit for one day to share their stories of service and patriotism during World War II.

Guests will include eight original Montford Point Marines, one original Tuskegee Airman and one of Rockford’s own veterans who served with the Army’s 761st tank unit during World War II.

This historic gathering with some of the most patriotic veterans of that era will provide the community a chance to meet and hear firsthand their stories of bravery and sacrifice.

Anyone who appreciates the service of our veterans and enjoys history is encouraged to attend this event. Admission is $5 for the public, and seniors and students are admitted free. Doors open at noon, with opening ceremony scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The veterans will take the stage at 1 p.m., and the event will conclude at 4 p.m. with an autograph session in the library.

In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African-Americans have played a significant role in U.S. military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802, establishing the fair employment practice, which began to erase discrimination in the United States Armed Forces. This executive order gave African-Americans an opportunity to serve their county as equals.

For more information, contact Veterans Memorial Hall at (815) 969-1999 or visit www.veteransmemorialhall.com.

From the Feb. 12-18, 2014, issue

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