Ceremonial Guardsmen help honor Tuskegee Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Madelyn Waychoff
  • Air Force Honor Guard Public Affairs
As part of a historical event, the Air Force Honor Guard helped honor not only some of our nation's greatest heroes, but some of the Air Force's as well.
Thursday marked the day the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony filled with more than 300 Tuskegee Airmen and their families. The ceremony took place in the Capitol Rotunda, and was attended by President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, as well as senators and congressmen.
During the ceremony ceremonial guardsmen from the Air Force Honor Guard escorted the former Airmen, presented the colors, formed a cordon, presented the medals and narrated the event - the only time in the history of the Capitol a military member has narrated an event.
"It was almost like being a part of history, with their generation and mine coming together," said Staff Sgt. Carlton Wright, a ceremonial guardsman. "It was unforgettable to be in the presence of those gentlemen, and to help honor the sacrifices they made for us. I've never been part of something like this before."
The medal awarded, the Congressional Gold Medal, is the highest civilian award which may be bestowed by the United States Congress, according to the Congressional web site. The decoration is awarded to any individual who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States.
This medal is awarded in the name of the Congress, and per committee rules, legislation bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal to a recipient must be co-sponsored by two thirds of the membership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before their respective committees will consider it.
"The medal we confer today will help do a small part to ensure your story is told and honored for generations to come," said President Bush. "On behalf of the office I hold and our country I salute you for your service to America I salute you."