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      Remembering Tuskegee Airman James McClain

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Arielle McClain holding back tears as she remembers her father, James McClain, alongside with family and friends.

      McClain was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He passed away Monday at the age of 86.

      Back in February, McClain shared his story with Fraendy Clervaud about his passion for flying, being a Tuskegee Airmen and the movie that tells their story, Redtails.

      McClain also says it's because of one of his teachers in New York, that he learned from Amelia Earhart.

      â??On Saturdayâ??s Amelia would take the class out to Floyd Bennett Field and take them up for flights,â?? says the late James McClain.

      McClain ultimately enrolled in the service thinking he could become a pilot, but it wasn't that easy.

      A window of opportunity was opened to African Americans through an Army Air Force Program that would train them to fly and maintain combat.

      The program was later called the "Tuskegee Airmen.â??

      Several Tuskegee Airmen chapters took part in the funeral services Thursday.

      McClain's daughter remembers her final memory of him.

      â??He gave me a look and he had a strong grip and he kissed me. I guess that was his way of telling me he loved me,â?? says Arielle McClain.

      McClain received full military honors at the Fort Jackson National Cemetery.

      His daughter was presented with a flag symbolizing McClainâ??s time serving his country.

      â??Today Iâ??m here because of him and the other fighters that helped him out,â?? says Arielle McClain.

      Cooke Funeral Home in Camden handled the funeral.