Tuesday, February 7, 2012

There Were Those Who Served

It is once again Black History Month.
I remember one of the first facts I learned in school that the celebration of Black achievements, in our nation and in our world.
Amoung them are men and women, who despite the odds, when their nation called, they answered. Yes,
I refer the black men and women who joined and served in the Armed Services. And like many others, their blood was shed for the very freedoms we hold dear.

The very first was Crispus Attucks. In 1770, Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the Amercian Revolution.
This statue of Crispus Attucks is in the heart of the Boston Commons.
The Boston Commons was my son Aries's playground; we lived only a few blocks away from the Commons. And I would make a point to tell Aries the story of  Mr. Attucks.
There were many others who would die in wars since then.
And blacks never failed to answer the call.
Whether it was the War of 1812, the Civil Was, two World Wars to the present, blacks picked up and bear arms for a country that often question their loyalty African-American soldiers and civilians fought a two-front battle during World War II. There was the enemy overseas, and also the battle against prejudice at home.
"Soldiers were fighting the world's worst racist, Adolph Hitler, in the world's most segregated army," says historian and National Geographic explorer in residence Stephen Ambrose. "The irony did not go unnoticed."
Good enough to fight, good enough to shed their blood. But when they returned home, the black serviceman still had to ride in the back of the bus and could drink from the same water fountain.
Many of my own family members were and are amoung those who donned the uniform of service to this nation. About three years ago, I found a copy of my grandfather Joe Prude's (my mother's father's) draft card. My uncles served in the service, as well as many of my cousins. I have at least two members of my family deployed, as well as my son, Aries. He followed in the steps of my late Uncle Joe Jr. and went into the Navy. My step-father and father-in-law have served and my husband is still in the Army Reserves.

We as a nation have indeed come a long way. Now men as well as women of all colours and religions are welcome to join the branch of their choice. No, it isn't perfect. But it is better than it was.
Is there still racism in the service? Sadly, yes. But now it isn't permitted or winked at.
A nation is as Strong and as good as her people.
And we are a good people.

No comments: