"Red Tails" recognizes heroes like Saratoga Springs' own Clarence Dart
My special interest is because one of those men is a member of our community who is dear to my heart, Clarence Dart.
Clarence and his wife Millie raised their family in a cozy Saratoga Springs home that I was lucky enough to move next door to some 30 years ago. It was several years before I realized this modest man flew 95 missions — and was shot down twice — as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
I wasn’t the only one slow to recognize a hero in our midst. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Tuskegee Airmen were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal. Fortunately, Clarence Dart and family members were among those present for the long-overdue recognition. Various local ceremonies honoring Clarence Dart have since followed.
I tweeted Wednesday about the upcoming movie and, an admitted Twitter novice, I was astonished at the endless string of tweets with the #redtails hashtag. I am in good company, nationwide.
“It’s important to have a movie like this,” said Clarence Dart’s son, Warren, a Maple Avenue Middle School teacher, in an interview with Saratogian reporter Paul Post. “I wouldn’t know this history if my father wasn’t a Tuskegee Airman. They didn’t teach it when I was in school. It wasn’t talked about.” You can read Paul Post’s story and see a trailer of the movie on The Saratogian website at http://saratogian.com/articles/2012/01/19/news/doc4f17934bcf713697231442.txt
The plan for Friday afternoon is for Clarence, 91, to be accompanied to “Red Tails” by his 10-year-old grandson, Gregor. A film about black fighter pilots is called “Red Tails” because the segregated pilots set apart their planes by painting the tails red. I hope the debut will be a red letter day.