Memorial Day 2018 started out like most of them have in my lifetime, solemn, quiet, and reflective. But half-way through the day, I needed something to put me in the spirit of today’s celebration.
I had, by this time, given thanks to my Uncle John and Uncle Paul.My uncles served this country in Korea during the days of segregation. Both of them entered the service of the country shortly after President Harry S. Truman had integrated the military.
Each returned to their father’s farm in Middle Georgia in the mid-1950s and were immediately re-acquainted with segregation and second-class citizenship.
When their lives ended, they were buried with military honors.
I recalled when my Uncle Paul transpired in 1981, while on active duty stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, how appalled his widow was when she received from the government a pension of $.76.
For men who give so much to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, the government gives little back.
By mid-day, I needed more meaning to put their service into perspective. A friend in Hampton, Virginia sent me the acceptance speech of Colin Kaepernick for an award he recently received from Amnesty International.
Kaepernick took this opportunity to explain that love is at the root of his resistance to standing during the National Anthem because of the “anti-blackness that is woven into the fabric of our nation.”
He reminded me that love for the country is a powerful force that will not allow America to continue to have racialized hate, mass incarations, mass police patrols, etc.
“We protest,” he said, “because we love ourselves and we love our country.”
Today, a salute to a former professional football player, who caused me to memorialize my country by renewing my love for her and my pledge to make her live up to what the founding fathers wrote in 1776, “that all men (women) are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”