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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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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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