Five of the famous Tuskegee Airmen - Airmen Floyd Carter, Wilfred DeFour, Dabney Montgomery, Joseph Spooner, and Pilot Audley Coulthurst were on hand along with veterans from other U.S. wars for this celebration of their service to the United States of America by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. BCC President Lenny Caro opened the luncheon by thanking each and everyone of the attendees who had served in the armed forces. Caro pointed to a memorial wall that was set up with the names of former armed forces members who "gave their life so we could be here", Mr. Caro said. After the national anthem was sung by PEPE (from Alive & Kickin) who was accompanied by a trio of bagpipers a short video tribute was played. Father Richard Gorman then gave the invocation.
Keynote speaker Senator Jeff Klein said that it should not be only on one day that members of the armed forces are remembered. He went on to say that unemployment is the highest among returning veterans. Klein added that starting in January 2014 any business in NY state will get a $5,000.00 tax break for every new veteran they hire. Klein had his staff members present proclamations to the five Tuskegee airmen present at the luncheon. Other speakers were Thomas Messina from Congressman Crowley's office (who also had citations for the airmen), Terrance Holliday the Commissioner of Veteran's Affair for Mayor Bloomberg, Hugh Meehan of sponsor AT&T, and Captain Matthew E. Loughlin of the NROTC unit SUNY Maritime College.
Left & Right - Two of Senator Klein's aids give citations from Sen. Klein to the airmen.
Left - One Airman checks over the citation from Sen. Klein.
Right - Father Richard Gorman chats with the Tuskegee Airmen after the luncheon.
Right - Sen. Klein and the airmen as the show Sen. Klein's citation. Sorry, but the lighting was bad on this shot.
Left - PEPE from Alive & Kickin sings the National Anthem.
Right - Bag Pipers from the FDNY accompany him during the National Anthem.
Right - Mr. Caro with two of the Tuskegee Airmen and other veteran's.
Right - Members of the NAM KNIGHTS a five borough chapter of Vietnam Veterans.