The newly renovated Learning Commons in the Melrose Middle/High School was the scene for a standing room only presentation by the Tuskegee Airmen on November 7, the eve of Election Day.
Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan praised the new Library space, claiming that the level of excellence is “almost unseen in any high school in Massachusetts.” The cutting edge educational facility for teenage students was a perfect backdrop for the impassioned message of Dr. Harold May, 90-year-old Tuskegee Airman, Harvard Graduate, Doctor and Missionary.
“I was 15 years old 75 years ago” Dr. May said, regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Dr. May explained that tough choices had to be made then – and still do today. He encouraged those who are currently 15, 16, 17 & 18 years old to imagine what it will be like looking back at this time 75 years from now. Will you regret your choices, or look back fondly on the change you made?
Dr. May encouraged the crowd to think about how the Tuskegee airmen and the military integration of races was a stepping stone to the Civil Rights movement. He said that today we are still a divided country – but on ideological and social differences. “Looking back 75 years from this day, is there any way for society to be integrated?”
The words were poignant and timely. The large crowd hung on to every slowly spoken word that Dr. May spoke. “We come from different religions, but we have one thing in common – we are all Americans. We are members of the human family.”
Through education and common experiences, perhaps performed in learning commons like the one at Melrose High School and all across the country, the perpetuation of integration that the Tuskegee airmen strove for can continue:
“Remember this always: Act as though we are all members of one family – because we are.”