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President Obama’s second inauguration was arguably just as important as his first. Had he not been reelected, naysayers would’ve dismissed it as a fluke. So the second inauguration is important, and it had a particularly emotional impact on Americans who lived through the Civil Rights movement in America. For surviving Tuskegee Airmen who made their way to Washington D.C. to witness the second inauguration, it was a touching experience.
“I never expected to live long enough to see a black president,” said Stephen Sherman, a 92-year-old who served with the Army’s 308th Combat Engineers in both theaters of the war. “God Bless America” said Sherman.
LeRoy Battle, 91, compared Obama to Moses in the Bible.
“There’s a lot of good people on this earth, a lot of good people of all races,” said Battle, who said he thought Obama was doing a good job leading America. “He’s very special. God put him here just like he did Moses,” Battle said. “I can see progress, but that’s not good enough, because I know that we’ve got more to go.”
Battle also discussed the racism he experienced. “They pulled us out of our barracks at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. They said ‘We’re going to hang you because you disobeyed a superior officer in a time of war,’” Battle recalled.
Rev. Jesse Jackson said these Tuskegee Airmen hold a special place in American history.
“They endured the humiliation,” he said. “When you see these guys singing ‘God Bless America,’ it’s something special. They didn’t just inherit America; they had to make America.”