By Chuck Stewart, Jr.
New Windsor - When the Homewood Suites by Hilton opened up at Stewart International Airport it presented a unique opportunity for the Tuskegee Airmen: a way to preserve their legacy.
Their idea was simple. To create a gallery of Tuskegee Airmen pictures that would adorn the fourth floor wing which overlooks Stewart Airport and its runways.
On Wednesday the idea became reality when the official unveiling took place. Members of the Air National Guard unit based at Stewart, Homewood Suites Manager Bruce Fox, and members of the Major General Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen gathered for this historical event.
Isaiah Robinson, an original Tuskegee Airman residing in Middletown, was present for the ceremony. Robinson, who was a member of class 45-H, had the honor of unveiling the sign that greets guests to the floor. It reads:
"The Tuskegee Airmen Wing. Dedicated to the memory of those individuals who trained in the Army Air Corps during the Tuskegee Experience 1939-1949."
Robinson then led the way, admiring the displays of photos and art that adorned the walls. Each a reminder of the pursuit of excellence that was demonstrated by the Tuskegee Airmen. Robinson recalled how he made it into the Army Air Corps experiment during World War II to see if Black men could fly complex airplanes. He also talked about growing up in the south during this time period.
In a New York minute, Robinson took you on a flight through history that only a Tuskegee Airmen could take you. And of course, landing safely, his mission accomplished and leaving you wanting more.
"We want to remind hotel guests of the Tuskegee Airmen," Lt. Col. Glen Fraser, who is the president of the local Tuskegee chapter said. Their history is as rich as the country they flew for.