Tuskegee Airman Joe Gomer Dies
Posted at: 10/11/2013 1:48 PM
| Updated at: 10/11/2013 10:37 PM
Duluth's Joe Gomer, who helped prove African American pilots are just as capable as their white counterparts, has died at age 93.
Gomer served as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II, a time when many thought African Americans were less qualified to fight. "We had to actually fight for the privilege of fighting," Gomer said in a 2012 interview.
Looking back, Gomer said he didn't know he would be blazing the trail for younger generations of African-Americans. "At the time, we didn't realize," he said. "We just wanted to serve our country."
Gomer said he couldn't be more proud of the strides made over the years. He said he never thought he would see an African American president in his lifetime, but points that out to young people as a reminder that they can be whatever they want to be.
Statues of Gomer now stand at the Duluth International Airport and in his hometown of Iowa Falls, Iowa. "It's too much to have one statue, but to have two, it's amazing," said Gomer after the Iowa statue was unveiled earlier this year. "I've discovered I have a lot of friends all over."
Gomer said the statues are humbling and help represent the many changes our nation has seen in civil rights since World War II.