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George S. “Spanky” Roberts poses in his plane in this signed photo to a friend. A Fairmont native, Roberts was a war hero and an inspiration to young blacks all over West Virginia, says Nadine Ezell, a longtime Fairmont resident.

In early January, Lucasfilm released “Red Tails.” The film, directed by Anthony Hemingway and George Lucas, depicted the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen, as a group of black Air Force servicemen in World War II were known.

The film, while based on real-life people and events, is largely fictional. Many of the events depicted in the movie occurred, but were less glamorous than portrayed by the film.

The pilots depicted in the film are also fictional characters, perhaps so as not to ascribe characterizations that don’t fit the unsung heroes. It may have been a decision for the best, but it disappointed people who wanted to see their local heroes on screen and larger than life.

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