Memorial Day Forgetfulness
One group of soldiers died for the country and we did not care
Today, in America, it is Memorial Day. It is a day intended to call to mind those who died fighting in defense of America and its freedoms. No one war is singled out to be remembered, but rather any and every single one of those men and women who fought and died.
The Civil War. World Wars I and II. Korea. Vietnam. Afghanistan. The list will be endless because, unless I am wrong, people will never stop fighting wars and so people will always die fighting them.
But every Memorial Day, we forget a certain group of soldiers who died fighting our wars and who, when they returned, we did not care.
Black men fought and died for an America that did not return the favor. The black men and women who returned from fighting, for example, WOrld War I came back to being told they were not allowed to sit on certain seats on the bus and eat in certain places at the diner. It did not matter that they were a soldier. And those that paid the ultimate price, it did not matter that they were defending a country that refused to defend them.
The irony was lost on the American people as, in World War II, black men fought to help stop a white man from perpetrating an act of blatant genocide only to return to a semblance of the very same attitudes and segregation that led, in no small part, to the death of millions in the Holocaust.
Black men and women died fighting for a country that has yet to truly thank them for their service. They have fought and died for freedoms that they only get a taste of.
They fought and died in the same wars that our white brothers and sisters have died in, and yet we somehow still, to this day, think, as a culture, that it is perfectly acceptable to treat them differently. But they still keep fighting for us. Defending us. They live here, have hopes and dreams, and want to see their children go places they never could. Just like every other American.
How do we honor these men and women on a day like today? The same way we do all the rest. We celebrate. We talk about them. We enact change that will improve the lives of those who come later. We make every attempt to create a world where they are truly equal. We ensure their right to vote. We ensure they are protected from bad cops. We stop every single attempt to hold black men and women down. We open the doors of opportunity for them in the same way we have already opened them for so many others.
But we do not just stop there. We open those same doors for every other creed and race the lives in this country. We stop holding each other down and we start lifting each other up.
In fact, these actions are the way in which we honor all the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
Let us thank and remember these men and women today, and every day, by working to create the world they believed they were fighting for.