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Red Tails

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

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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Columban: Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor. 
<p>After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture. </p><p>Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.</p> American Catholic Blog Jesus was never a careerist or a glory-monger; he did not demand to be hailed as a king or lauded as a hero. He came to live among us, to suffer with us, and to serve us from the heart. He came to teach us how to love.

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