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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Red Tails

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

During World War II an Army Air Corps unit of African American was established in Alabama that came to be known as the Tuskegee Airman. Although the men were highly skilled, segregation in the Army and distrust of the pilots’ skills based on racial bias, limited the scope of their operations. They were also given old planes to fly and assigned to bomb sites that had already been destroyed.
 
In Italy in 1944 the men chaff against orders that make no sense. One of the men falls in love with a local girl while the others have to spend their free time at an Italian dance hall because white soldiers won’t allow them in their club. Fights break out.
 
Col. Bullard (Terrence Howard) lobbies the pentagon for new planes and real assignments that can save American lives and help the war effort. In Italy Major Stance (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) oversees missions, tries to keep the men from trouble, and trains them hard, believing in their intelligence, skills, and patriotism.
 
When the Pentagon finally agrees to take the Tuskegee Airmen seriously, Bullard demands new planes and gets them. The ground crew paints the tails red so the Germans will know whose coming.
 
“Red Tails” is based on true facts but the script is tedious and the action slow throughout most of the film. Director Anthony Hemmingway has made a fine reputation for himself for television, but here the pace is so slow that I think such an important movie may not receive the audience it so deserves.  The writing obviously struggled to create tension and friendship among the men, but it was so obvious it was a cliché.  The actors have so much potential but their performances are stilted.
 
The final half hour of the film is where things come together. The audience I saw it with got into it completely and cheered and clapped, and I shed a tear or two,  at the victories of the awesome Tuskegee Airmen. This is a worthy story even if the film isn’t flying off the screen, so to speak.


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Didacus Joseph of Cadiz: Born in Cadiz, Spain, and christened Joseph Francis, the youth spent much of his free time around the Capuchin friars and their church. But his desire to enter the Franciscan Order was delayed because of the difficulty he had with his studies. Finally he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchins in Seville as Brother Didacus. He later was ordained a priest and sent out to preach. 
<p>His gift of preaching was soon evident. He journeyed tirelessly through the territory of Andalusia of Spain, speaking in small towns and crowded cities. His words were able to touch the minds and hearts of young and old, rich and poor, students and professors. His work in the confessional completed the conversions his words began. </p><p>This unlearned man was called "the apostle of the Holy Trinity" because of his devotion to the Trinity and the ease with which he preached about this sublime mystery. One day a child gave away his secret, crying out: "Mother, mother, see the dove resting on the shoulder of Father Didacus! I could preach like that too if a dove told me all that I should say." </p><p>Didacus was that close to God, spending nights in prayer and preparing for his sermons by severe penances. His reply to those who criticized him: "My sins and the sins of the people compel me to do it. Those who have been charged with the conversions of sinners must remember that the Lord has imposed on them the sins of all their clients." </p><p>It is said that sometimes when he preached on the love of God he would be elevated above the pulpit. Crowds in village and town squares were entranced by his words and would attempt to tear off pieces of his habit as he passed by. </p><p>He died in 1801 at age 58, a holy and revered man. He was beatified in 1894.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, when I help someone who is ill, let me never forget that love is the most important medicine. And when I am ill, Lord, please send me medical men and women who are not only wise and skilled but filled with love.


 
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