He was buried beside men who at one point he could not serve with.
On Friday, 90 year-old Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. was given full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. He was one of the few surviving original Tuskegee Airmen.
"He was very proud of being a black man. He was very proud of his race. He felt that we as a people had accomplished a great deal," said his widow, Jacqueline Weathers.
Weathers was one of the first African American military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces. He is credited with downing two German fighter planes that attacked American bombers.
"He always had a smile on his facealways stayed on the positive side which I like so...I think he served us well," said Charles McGhee, who served as a Tuskegee Airman.
The Lieutenant Colonel is being buried on the release day of a feature film celebrating the airmen's accomplishments. "Red Tails," produced by George Lucas of "Star Wars" fame, tells the story of these men who helped to integrate the military during World War Two.
"We did something to show the world...not just black people that we could do anything anybody else could," said William Broadwater, a Tuskegee Airman.
Weathers earned a Congressional Gold Medal along with the respect of many for all he did for African Americans.
"I think the overriding lesson with him was that blackness is not something specifically defined. You define it as an individual," said Joseph Edwards, Weathers' grandson.