PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new exhibit was unveiled Thursday at the Pittsburgh International Airport. It tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman who fought in World War II.

On a yearly basis, some eight million people pass through the Pittsburgh International Airport, catching planes, sometimes shopping.

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But the next time you come through the airport, in Concourse A in particular, you’re going to experience a piece of Western Pennsylvania history.

The Tuskegee Airmen Recognition Exhibit is the largest exhibit of its kind in any U.S. airport.

It’s actually U.S. history, but there is a special Western Pennsylvania connection. Many of the men who were airmen were from this region.

“We opened the door for you, now you open it wider,” said Tuskegee Airman Dr. Mitchell Higginbotham.

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The Tuskegee Airmen completed more than 1,500 combat missions and they became one of the most recognized, celebrated squadrons of World War II.

They did so during a time when the country did not respect or accept them as men because of the color of their skin.

“A book about blacks in the Armed Forces by Lena Horne’s daughter asserts that our sit in, our problems at Freeman Field Indiana, our arrests were the beginning of the civil rights movement,” said Wendell Freeland, a Tuskegee Airman.

It was a movement that would thrust these men, these soldiers into history, and now onto the walls forever at the Pittsburgh airport as a reminder of both the rights and the wrongs of this country’s history.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland