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Henry Polite, One of the Last Remaining Tuskegee Airmen, Dies

A Marina del Rey woman is mourning the death of her father, who was one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen.

Henry Polite was part of the highly decorated and first Black pilots and crew members to serve in the U.S. military. Polite, who died Monday at the age of 96, was born in Philadelphia but raised his family in Los Angeles.

The Tuskegee Airmen received the congressional Medal of Honor in 2007 from then-President George W. Bush, but Veronica Polite said what her father remembered most about his time in the military was the racism he faced wherever he went.

“He said he saw a ‘colored only’ sign hanging up. He snatched it down. I think he carried that anger for a long time, and when he came home from the service, he kept that sign,” Veronica Polite recalled.

Born in Philadelphia in 1926, Henry Polite was part of the Tuskegee Airmen as a crew chief and engineer. His daughter said he continued to work for the government as an electrical engineer before he retired. She called her father a gracious and humble man, who led his children in the Lord’s Prayer every night.

“At the time, my sister and I just took it for granted. But as an adult person, I recall it as one of the most touching times of my childhood,” Veronica Polite said.

Henry Polite left behind his wife, five children, three grandchildren, two great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. He also left behind a legacy of heroism and endurance.

“I’m proud of him. I’m proud that he endured. I’m proud that he was selected,” Veronica Polite said.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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