RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA) will conduct the Second African American Veteran Lineage Day Ceremony in Raleigh on Feb. 13. A documentary film will be produced by NC DMVA in honor of the state’s veterans who broke color barriers.
The ceremony will take place at the North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601, on Thursday, Feb.13, 2020, from 12:45 p.m. until 2:00 p.m.
“The NCDMVA is honored to begin this tradition of recognizing those who fought for our freedoms as Americans, even before those same freedoms were afforded to them,” NC DMVA Secretary Larry Hall stated in a press release. “The State of North Carolina is proud of these service members, and we will keep striving to carry on their legacy through this annual celebration of their valor and courage.”
After a successful first event in 2019, NC DMVA decided to continue the tradition dedicated to honoring African American service members who served throughout the state’s history, including when the armed forces stood segregated.
According to the NC DMVA, posthumous awards will be given in recognition of “United States Colored Troops, World War II Staff Sergeant Millie Dunn Veasey, and a former slave, Private Luke Martin of the First NC Colored Infantry.” Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Sen. Mickey Michaux and Rep. Nasif Majeed, all African American veterans from North Carolina and current office holders, will also receive awards.
At the 2020 State of the Union on Feb. 4, President Trump honored Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The airmen were the only African American pilot squadron and trained out of segregated Tuskegee, Alabama. McGee is one of the last surviving of the 996 Tuskegee Airmen — 84 of whom lost their lives in the war.
McGee flew 136 combat missions in World War II, attacking targets in Italy and supporting the rescue of 1,000 prisoners of war in Romania. He went on to become a colonel and fly in wars in Korea and Vietnam.
At the age of 100, he has had a big year, flipping the coin at the Super Bowl and being given a standing ovation at the State of the Union.
“The Army policy at the time was we didn’t have the brainpower and moral fiber to become pilots,” he said. “We dispelled that notion.”
North Carolina is home to over 800,000 military service members, veterans and their families.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.