Faith Community United Methodist Church in West Chester will host its third annual “Salute to Veterans” program this Friday at 7 p.m. The event will feature two speakers who will share their stories.
David Sizemore of West Chester will speak on behalf of his father, James, and share his experiences in World War II where he went on 51 bombing missions aboard a B-17 in Europe.“Every Veteran’s Day, my brother and I always call my dad and just tell him ‘thank you’ for what he has done for our country because he was only 17 or 18 when he went to war and he has been a real example to my brother and I for being a risk taker,” David said. “Not a foolish risk taker, but somebody who was brave enough to step out and do something that he felt like he was being called to do.”
James has discussed his time at war with David, telling him what it was like watching his former flight crew get shot down in action, what it was like bombing the enemy and hoping innocent lives were not lost and even what it was like having bullets enter the plane while in combat.
James plans on attending the event, but is battling throat cancer and might be unable to attend.
The other speaker, James Shaw of Lebanon, will talk about the Tuskegee Airmen on how they fought for their country despite racial prejudices.
“They (Tuskegee Airmen) were very important during World War II by escorting a lot of our bomber crews to and from their targets,” Shaw said. “At the same time, they were fighting segregation and racism in the United States. So, they were fighting on two fronts.”
Shaw, who grew up in South Carolina, was angered that it took him years after he first went to war to find out about the Tuskegee Airmen. And, while he is pleased that recent movies have been made about the group, he feels that “it was too late.”
During the event, Shaw, who is president of the Cincinnati’s chapter of the Tuskegee Airman, will also talk about his service in Vietnam War.
Faith Community United Methodist Church is located at 8230 Cox Road.