January 18, 2010 – Day 16
Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and as our troops train to march out and fight yet another war on foreign soil I am reminded of how far we have come. I got up this morning and saw that my lovely husband had beat me in posting his photos to his FaceBook page. I’m not complaining, just surprised – he never does anything when I ask him to and this time he did – Yea! But, as I viewed his pictures of his teammates and his squad, I saw them with MLK’s “I have a dream” speech ringing in my head.
My father, like most men of his generation, served where he could when WWII hit our shores with the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942. He served in the Merchant Marine, which during wartime is a component of the Navy. He wore a Navy uniform, just like Richard and I have done. My Dad spent the duration of the war working on grain ships in the Great Lakes and guarding German prisoners of war. Richard too will be guarding interned prisoners as part of his duties overseas. So many similarities. How we fight our wars hasn’t changed much in almost 60 years.
What has changed are the photos. Pictures of my Dad with his shipmates were studies in black and white where all the faces smiling from the scene were Caucasian. Now the pictures are in color and the array of skin tones on those faces grinning from the scene are just as colorful. The only black faces on my Dad’s ships were in the galley, cooking and serving the “true warriors”, and if my husband had served at that time his face would have been seen there. He would not have been in battle greens, leading a group of young men through the desert.
My man is proud of himself and proud of his troops. Understandably so. And, I am so proud to be his wife and the mother of his children. I am also proud of our nation, where our Commander and Chief is of African descent. We are closer to the day when “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” We are closer to “that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” I do believe that we “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” And in my husband’s photos I see “little black boys… joining hands with little white boys…as brothers.”
Like Dr. King I too have a dream today. I dream of the day each of these men return home, safe and sound, to their mother’s, their sister’s, their wives or girlfriends, their children. I dream that day is filled with rejoicing and not with sorrow. I dream they are whole, and not broken, not lost. I dream that each of them is better, stronger, richer, emotionally and spiritually, for their days away from us. I dream of happy tears on that day and pride in a job well done! “I have a dream today!”