The United States Postal Service has decided to honor of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American pilots who fought in World War II, by naming a Harlem post office after them.
According to local news affiliate ABC7NY, Monday, a renaming ceremony was held at the post office on Macombs Place previously known as the Colonial Park Station.
“Renaming this post office facility after the Tuskeege Airmen is a fitting tribute to the honor their memory and contributions to this country has been,” explained U.S Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
It takes an act of Congress to rename a post office and Rep. Espaillat made it his priority to introduce his bill last November. Aside from representing New York’s 13th congressional district, Espaillat is also the first formerly undocumented immigrant to ever serve in Congress, so it comes as no surprise that he would feel an allegiance to the Tuskegee Airmen who were the first all-Black squadron activated into service by the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Despite paving the way for so many others, these brave men where constantly discriminated against by the very countrymen they were risking their lives for. But in recent years their story has touched millions, and Espaillat’s bill seeking to honor them unanimously passed the House and the Senate, and was signed into law in July.
“It’s remarkable to get the type of bipartisan support to be able to bring us all together.” said former Rep. Charles Rangel.
Even though most of the airmen have died, one in particular was there front and center to show his appreciation.
“I regret so many of my comrades are no longer here with us,” said former Tuskegee Airman and aircraft technician, Airman Wilfred DeFour. After returning from the war, DeFour went on to work for the Postal Service for 33 years. He just turned 100 years old.
“It will mean there’s recognition for Tuskegee Airmen and that’s very important,” said a proud DeFour.
“We’re late on this post office,” concedes State Senator Brian Benjamin. “But we’re moving in the right direction.”