Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Amazing WWII Story

Last Friday, I had the honor of hosting the dedication of North Avondale Montessori School.
Good Tuesday morning. Rob here with an incredible story that started decades ago.
World War II veterans Herb Heilburn and John Leahr were the keynote speakers. Herb was a B-17 bomber pilot who flew numerous dangerous missions over Nazi Germany.

John was a fighter pilot in the all black Tuskeegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter Squadron. They were called Tuskeegee Airman because they were trained at a segregated airbase in Tuskeegee, Alabama. It wasn't until 50 years later that Herb discovered that his bomber squadron had been escorted for most of his missions by Tuskeegee Airmen. So he researched military records and learned one of the planes that escorted him safely on his missions was flown by John.

So they met at the annual meeting of Tuskeegee Airmen and they learned that they were from the same hometown, Cincinnati. After talking for a bit they learned they attended the same school. North Avondale Montessori. They talked some more and learned they were in the same 3rd grade class . Not only are they in the same class. Take a look at the class picture. Count down from the top left student. Down two.. over one. That is John. The kid standing on his left right next to him is Herb. Like many their many WWII missions John is Herb's wing man. The two man agreed that it was racial segregation that kept them apart and vowed to share their story to improve interracial understanding.

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