On a recent road trip through Alabama, the kids, some friends and I made a stop at the Tuskegee Airman National Park. I have wanted to go here FOREVER, but it never really ended up being near a destination or on a route. So, when we were headed to Auburn University (travel review on that one, soon!!) we planned a little extra time in our trip to stop and tour the aviation museum.
I WISH we had planned more time.
It was awesome. I can’t recommend stopping here enough.
First – logistics. You can check it out on your maps app – but the park is about a half an hour from Montgomery, AL. There are lots of places there to eat and stay. The museum is free, and while there is handicap parking and access – if walking is tough you may want to take a wheel chair along. There may be more handicap access that I didn’t see – so please call ahead and check for more details. (I was thinking when I was there, “Man, if we had my handicapped parents here this would be a HAUL.”)
After arriving and checking out the airfield from the parking lot, you head down a hill to one of two hangars that house displays, movies, interviews, and much more. I’d plan at least a couple of hours to really explore the museum.
I love maps and visuals. These were excellent.
P-51. Really? What can be better???
Big’s favorite. Maybe because she’s flown in one!! (Not that I’m jealous… OK. I am.)
A fuzzy Cub. Get it?
DD did the Junior Ranger Program – which took here less than an hour. For the 6-10 crowd, I’d plan on a couple of hours.
My favorite interview, bar none, was the one with LTCOL Alexander Jefferson. As I listened to his stories I was enthralled. He completely captivated me, making me laugh and cry. All I could think was , “Wow. This man is a fighter pilot.” And trust me, I KNOW fighter pilots! LOL! I also thought, “Wow, he would be such great friends with my Father in Law!”. Unfortunately, when we got to the store they had just shut down, so I couldn’t purchase his book there. As soon as I got home I bought his book, Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW. I planned on giving it to DH for Christmas, but I couldn’t wait. He started it, then I started it. I LOVE this book and can’t wait for a little more time to finish it. It will be mandatory reading for my kids.
Like pretty much anything with WW2, we need to take the time NOW to learn the stories of the brave men and women who fought for our freedom. In my humble opinion, the Tuskegee Airmen were amazing men who deserve our study and ultimately our respect and appreciation. I cannot even put into words how remarkable these men were – brave, strong, smart, and patriotic – willing to die for a country that treated them so inhumanely. This museum is a moving, stirring, and humbling place.
Please, if you’re in Alabama. Make the trip. You won’t regret it.