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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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Fidelis of Sigmaringen: If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life. 
<p>Born in 1577, Mark Rey (Fidelis was his religious name) became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Fidelis soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor. </p><p>As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers. </p><p>He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions. </p><p>He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed. </p><p>He was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later, the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which was established in 1622, recognized him as its first martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog Obedience means total surrender and wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. All the difficulties that come in our work are the result of disobedience.

 
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