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Military, local leaders, family celebrate Tuskegee Airman

Family members and friends of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, unveil a sculptured bust in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

Family members and friends of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, unveil a sculptured bust in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

A plaque of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, sits on display during a bust unveiling ceremony in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

A plaque of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, sits on display during a bust unveiling ceremony in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

Col. C. Mike Smith, 81st Training Wing vice commander, delivers remarks during a bust unveiling ceremony honoring Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

Col. C. Mike Smith, 81st Training Wing vice commander, delivers remarks during a bust unveiling ceremony honoring Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

Family members and friends of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, attend a bust unveiling ceremony in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

Family members and friends of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, Tuskegee Airman, attend a bust unveiling ceremony in his honor at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport July 13, 2016, Gulfport, Miss. Keesler personnel, family members, friends and community representatives gathered for the ceremony to honor Roberts, who began and ended his 32-year military career at Keesler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue/Released)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Local civic leaders, military members, family and friends attended a bust unveiling ceremony in honor of Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, a Tuskegee Airman, July 13, at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Gulfport, Miss.

Roberts, whose name also adorns the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility here, served 32 years in the U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force and retired in the local area after completing his final assignment here.

“I’m just so very proud to have him in a place where I think he’d love to be; he loved flying,” said Dorothy Roberts, Lawrence’s daughter.

In addition to local mayors and family members, Col. C. Mike Smith, 81st Training Wing vice commander, spoke on Roberts’ legacy.

“Col. Roberts met adversity with the utmost courage while with the Tuskegee Airmen, a group that served gallantly in dangerous missions during World War II,” he said. “This amazing man and father demonstrated to us that though life may present stumbling blocks on the path to success, determination to serve a bigger purpose than ourselves and living the values we advocate will surely overcome any obstacle.”

The bust will accompany other tributes to Mississippi aviators on display at the airport for travelers to view as they pass through the terminal.

“When I travel and I see a bust or monument, it reminds me that life is much broader than myself; it reminds me there’s other people in this world that have done and achieved things,” she said. “It can inspire and motivate people like it inspires me. Today has been a joyous day.”