“He recognized that we as people and he as a black man have come a long way but that there is still more to go,” Rogers’ daughter Veronica told the Tampa Bay Times. “But in God’s eyes there is no color, he’d say. We are all one and he lived by the greatest commandment — to love one another.”
The Tuskegee Airmen existed at a time when the U.S. military was still segregated. Formally called the U.S. Army Air Corps 99th Flying Squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen were also known as the “Red Tails,” due the trademark bright red tails painted on their P-40 Tomahawk and P-51 Mustang fighter planes.
Rogers was reportedly quite humble about his service with the groundbreaking squadron, so much so that some of his family was not even aware of it. He received a Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush in 2007 for his service, but did not attend the ceremony. Rogers’ family had known he was a veteran, but he did not reveal his place in history until 2012.