Sunday, August 23, 2009
Ted Englehart called Charles B. Hall a "very fine man."

* Hall monument dedicated

Ted Englehart remembers Charles B. Hall as being "very likable."

"He was a very fine man," Englehart told approximately 150 people that attended the Charles B. Hall monument dedication in front of Brazil City Hall Saturday. "He was very soft-spoken."

Englehart told the audience Saturday he remembered hearing during World War II that then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had visited the Tuskegee Institute in April 1941.

She had accepted a ride with one of the African American pilots that day.

Only days later, the first African American Air Corps was formed.

In the 99th Fighter Squadron, Hall shot down a total of three enemy aircraft during the war and is credited as being the first African American to shoot down an aircraft during a mission over Panelleria, Tunisia, North Africa, July 2, 1943.

On Saturday, members of Hall's family among others paid tribute to him, as the monument was officially unveiled.

Ret. Major Gen. Dorian Trent Anderson (above) was the keynote speaker at the Charles B. Hall Monument dedication Saturday in front of Brazil City Hall. Anderson called the efforts to raise money for the project "Herculean."

"Charles Hall proved that Eleanor Roosevelt was right," Englehart told the audience. "Someone else could have been that first pilot. But Charles Hall was that first pilot."

Englehart helped spearhead a movement to have the monument erected. The Charles B. Hall Foundation -- led by committee members Ted Paris, Englehart, Gertrude Slack, Mary I. Hendrickson, Marion Eveland and Aaron Rugenstein -- saw the efforts come to fruition during the weekend.

The ceremony included several speakers, including keynote speaker Ret. Major Gen. Dorian Trent Anderson, a 1971 Brazil High School graduate.

"Today is a great day," Anderson said. "Brazil and the Clay County community decided to honor one of their own."

Calling Hall a "hero and inspiration," Anderson said the efforts set forth by the foundation were "Herculean."

"This memorial is a reminder that we are expected to be better," Anderson said. "We are not victims. We are victorious."

It took the foundation four years to fund the money to create the monument. Just recently, it was placed in front of City Hall.

WTHI News Channel 10 personality David Wire served as Master of Ceremony, introducing those who spoke at the event.

"What would we be without Charles B. Hall," Wire asked those attending the ceremony. "This has been a very moving experience."

Festivities began 30 minutes prior to the unveiling of the monument with members of the Brazil Concert Band and Jackson Township Community Band providing entertainment.

The presentation of colors were provided by members of the American Legion Post 2 and V.F.W. Post 1127.

Following an introduction by Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw, Wire took the podium to introduce speakers, including Berea Christian Church Minister Tom Hess, who offered the invocation.

Anderson recited a poem about the Tuskegee Airmen Saturday and then spoke of Hall.

"I am honored to be part of this ceremony," Anderson said. "It's a continuation of history.

"Major Hall didn't know me, but because of the door he opened, it opened the door of other things and we never want to go back.

"Major Hall gave of himself. Giving is a good thing. Giving is a biblical principle. We want to remember that Major gave of himself."

Alex Huskey, Supt. Of Indiana State Excise Police, spoke on behalf of Gov. Mitch Daniels Saturday. Daniels was unable to attend the event.

"This day serves as an inspiration for us all," Huskey said. "Brazil, Indiana, and the citizens of Indiana stand in resolve that we will not forget where we came from."

In addition, Hall's children, Charles T. Hall and Kelli Ann Hall-Jones both spoke to the audience Saturday.

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  • Hats off to Charles Hall and all our veterans. We owe so much to them, but I'm wondering if we don't have other "war heros" in our county that should be honored. Why did we pick just one? My Uncle was a fighter pilot in both WWII, and the Korean Conflict. I'm sure we all know of someone that served our country during war.

    -- Posted by hightshoehome on Mon, Aug 24, 2009, at 2:19 PM
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