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Tuskegee Airman Speaks At Crestwood

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Students at Crestwood High School got a living lesson in history. Lt. Col. James Harvey spoke to a crowd at Crestwood Secondary Cam...

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Students at Crestwood High School got a living lesson in history.

Lt. Col. James Harvey spoke to a crowd at Crestwood Secondary Campus Monday morning.

He grew up in Luzerne County's Mountain Top area, graduated as president and valedictorian of Fairview High School in 1942, and went on to become a famed Tuskegee Airman.

"Why did only 996 of us graduate from Tuskegee? Why were we the best? Why did no one hear about the Tuskegee Airmen for over 50 years?" he asked the crowd.

The Tuskegees were a group of the first all African-American military pilots to fight during World War II.

"I'm a big fan of history, American history especially, I've been studying it for a while, but I really have heard of them. Flying Corps from World War II, all African-American, it's a really inspiring story," said Drew Barno, a Crestwood student.

Harvey spoke to the student about his training, the war, and fighting discrimination.

"I think it's going to inspire all of us to hear about his story and I just think it's a great opportunity for us to understand what happened in the past," said Madison Hiller, a Crestwood student.

"I just think it's great that it comes full circle. He's able to come back and talk to us when he attended, he's from Mountain Top, and attended like we did," said sophomore Taylor Yeager.

At 95 years old, Harvey said his wish was to return home and talk with these young people.

"When I was growing up, I considered myself a perfectionist. Everything had to be perfect and with a perfectionist, there isn't anything a perfectionist can't do. Nothing. So that's what's taken me through life," he said.

"It's really inspiring to see that he's still alive and he lived through such a hard time, it's just amazing," said sophomore Ashleigh Button.