My First Truly Historic Moment – Truly Historic BlogChris Hauff Aug 13, 2020
Miss Clark’s Truly Historic Blog! August 26, 2020
This week’s blog is especially exciting to share because it is about one of my first “truly historic” moments serving on the USS Yorktown in the Education Department.
As most of you know, I am officially old now and really(?) retired, or at least that is what the Government lists me as now. Just as there will always be a part of me in the classroom, there will always be a part of me on board the “Fighting Lady.”
Chris Hauff, whom I fondly call “our Press Person,” created this blog so I could keep sharing some of the amazing moments in history on and off our ship. (He is also my Editor-in-Chief. Thanks, Chris)
So, back to the rest of the blog, in February of 2012, we began a series of symposiums called “Ordinary People doing Extraordinary Things.” We honestly had no idea how popular they would become. But, can you believe we did more than 30 before ending the series? I guess you could say I came in with the symposiums and went out with the last one, too.
Edward Gibson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, was part of our first program. He proudly wore his red jacket and showed me his gold medal that all of them eventually received from a grateful nation. That day, my mission was to “push a truly historic veteran” and share some history about our ship even as I learned much about his mission so long ago. (Those of you that know me, realize my red, white and blue blood pressure was proudly pumping.)
Mr. Gibson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 26, 1922. He would be 98 today, (8/26/2020) if he were still with us. After being educated in Charleston’s public schools and graduating from the 11th grade of Burke High School, he attended the Avery Institute.
“When the war started, I asked if they let me go and take the aviation cadet training examination,” he stated. So, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and completed the training in nearby Walterboro, SC, and a few other locations.
Gibson was eligible for training as a pilot but set his mind on becoming a Bombardier / Navigator because there were more pilots than there were airplanes for them to fly. His crew was part of the 477th Bombardment Group. The Tuskegee men were surrounded by racial segregation and often relocated from air base to air base while facing opposition from the Army Air Force Command.
When asked about how he dealt with the racism, Gibson said, “Sometimes, you have to be the one gives the first hand to love,” he said. “I am not going to let anybody take advantage of me, take advantage of my family. But I am not going to hate a person because of his race or color.”
It is needless to say that spending time with a true American Hero was and still is, more than I can put into words. However, serving on the Yorktown has given me the chance to meet many “living legends.” Learning from a book is nothing compared to what one can learn when they meet men and women who are walking/talking history.
If you have not seen the film, “Red Tails,” Mr. Gibson would encourage you to remember this one thing. “We were proud of what we did and what we were going to do. I’m proud of the Air Force,” he said. “We did a really good job because we were good, you hear me?” (Do YOU know why they were named—Red Tails ?)
Needless to say, I’ve been blessed with some “truly historic” moments.
September’s clue is a ten letter word that will be revealed each week???
Getting To Know Miss Clark:
My name is Cindy Clark, but most of my life as a teacher I’ve been known as Miss Clark. For more than 24 years, I was blessed to teach in a traditional classroom full of students who often taught me more than I taught them. Then, I left the classroom and boarded a truly historic ship – the USS Yorktown. I spent more than 10 years educating students from across the country about history, honor, and patriotism as part of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum’s education department. As of August 14, 2020, I officially retired, and looking back, I feel so blessed to have had an impact on so many young lives!
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