World War II's famed Tuskegee Airmen to get front-row seats at Obama's inauguration





It took 60 years for the Tuskegee Airmen to get a second invite to a presidential inauguration, and this time they'll actually be able to go.

When President Harry Truman took the oath of office in 1949, the first inauguration after World War II, Watson and 11 other airmen from the famed all-black unit were limited to a flyby over the parade - and they never set foot in the still-segregated capital.

This Jan. 20, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will be more welcoming to the estimated 250 surviving Tuskegee Airmen, all in their 80s and 90s, who are able to come.

The committee has upfront seats for all of them on the Capitol lawn for the swearing-in of Obama. Transition sources said that 1940s vintage cars also will be available to drive them in the parade to the White House, where they will take a salute from Obama.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Russ Davis, head of the nonprofit Tuskegee Airmen Inc., said 238 of the remaining fliers had been contacted and about 200 were expected to attend.

"This has been a long time coming," Davis said.




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