Tuskegee Airman Smith was friend, mentor, hero

2013-05-12T00:00:00Z Tuskegee Airman Smith was friend, mentor, hero nwitimes.com
May 12, 2013 12:00 am

I watched the movie "Red Tails" for the third time, and once again I was left with a great sense of thankfulness. As I pondered my 40-plus year relationship with Quentin P. Smith, I consider myself blessed to have had him in my life.

I invited him to come speak to our students at Elston Middle school in Michigan City, and I remember calling him from the U.S. Air Force Academy as I latched onto the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial. I last saw him at Purdue North Central. I had the opportunity to introduce my boys to him -- a thrill for them and an honor for me.

He was my principal, a mentor and a friend. I now realize after all these years that he was also one of my heroes. In this day and age when the definition of hero has become so convoluted, I am proud of Smith and others like him who served to protect our freedom, especially when real freedom was something Smith and many of his peers never really had.

Thank you to Smith and all of the men and women in the armed forces who have served and continue to serve our great country.

- Mario Rosa, West Side High 1971, Rolling Prairie

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