Orlando becomes home to the first monument to honor WWII Red Tail pilots on Veterans Day
Last year, you might’ve caught the movie Red Tails in theaters, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terence Howard (and let’s not forget Ne-Yo), a fictionalized portrayal of the then-marginalized but now-distinguished Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of black fighter pilots who suffered racial discrimination in WWII times but fought bravely in spite of it. Now Orlando Science Center invites the general public out for a Veterans Day celebration including a viewing of the film, a flyover by a P-51 Mustang (the plane more commonly known as a “red tail”) and, most importantly, a dedication of the first-ever monument in the country that specifically honors Red Tail pilots, right here in Orlando, presented by Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Robert Stuart, Vision of Flight president Mike McKenzie and Orlando Science Center CEO JoAnn Newman, as well as other esteemed guests including 12 Red Tail pilots. Here’s all the info you need to attend:
When: 10 a.m. Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11 (film viewing is at 12:30 p.m.)
Where: Orlando Science Center (east entrance, facing Loch Haven Park), 777 E. Princeton St.
More information: Visit OSC’s Red Tails monument page
Seating is limited but all are welcome. Following the dedication, guests are welcome to explore STEM concepts in the science center, including engaging information on aviation science that may compel you to pick up one of these diecast metal flyers. One was delivered to my office, and now I know that the P-51 Mustang can achieve a maximum speed of 437 mph (modern commercial airliners cruise at 546-575 mph, but they aren’t packing six machine guns, two 500-lb. bombs or eight 75-mm rockets) and that both the U.S.’s allies and enemies envied the aircraft for its combination of speed, dependability and fighting capabilities.
Orlando Science Center has an entire weekend of events planned to build up to the dedication ceremony, including a paper-plane-building challenge, a P-51 Mustang flight simulator, an opportunity to meet Red Tail pilots, an Egg Drop challenge and viewings of Red Tails each day between Nov. 8-11.