Fantasy of Flight Kicks off Fourth Annual "Legends & Legacies" Symposium Series with Visit from the Tuskegee Airmen

"They Dared to Fly" will be held Thurs., Feb. 9 through Sat., Feb. 11 and will feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with several of the original Tuskegee Airmen.


POLK CITY, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2011) - Fantasy of Flight, Central Florida's premier aviation attraction, has already made plans to celebrate Black History Month in February 2012 in a memorable way by kicking off its Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series with a visit from famed World War II heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as a student essay contest honoring the aviators' leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination (LEAD).

During this unforgettable, three-day limited engagement event called "They Dared to Fly," the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first African-American military aviators, will share their personal stories of what it was like to serve as a pilot in the military during segregated America. The pilots will share stories about their military service and unprecedented success despite operating in segregated units. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 50 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.

"They Dared to Fly" will be held Thurs., Feb. 9 through Sat., Feb. 11 and will feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with several of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Symposium events are included in the attraction's general admission price and are free for annual pass holders.  

In tribute to the Tuskegee, students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in the "They Dared to Fly" essay contest. Using the principles of LEAD (leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination), students should describe how the Tuskegee Airmen achieved success or describe how they can use these values to achieve a personal goal of their own. Entries will be judged on overall content, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, legibility and penmanship (as applicable).  

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category (grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12). First place will be awarded $100; second place, $75 and third place, $50. Entries must be postmarked or hand delivered prior to 5 p.m. on or before February 20, 2012. Winners will be announced March 16, 2012. Additional rules apply; for more information, visit www.fantasyofflight.com.

"It is an honor and a privilege to welcome back the Tuskegee Airmen and their families to Fantasy of Flight for our Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series," said Kim Long, General Manager. "We couldn't think of a better way to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and celebrate Black History Month than by engaging students to learn more about these brave aviators and express what they've learned through written essays. Our mission has always been to encourage young people to pursue their own dreams, and the Tuskegee Airmen are excellent role models in the values of leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination."  

The deadline for the essay contest is set for Feb. 20, 2012 in order to allow students and student groups to attend the Tuskegee Airmen's "They Dared to Fly" symposium Feb. 9-11, and write about what they have learned.

Fantasy of Flight's permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and vintage aircraft collection, including the P-51C Mustang, provides the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America's enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.

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