Tag Archives: Blacks

Funerals

I am scraping, at least for this blog’s issue, what I originally wrote and will write about this weekend’s funerals. We have lost two great people, in our time line, and they both will be sorely missed. These were contrasting funerals; one somber and one long with hype. Both were expected to be the way it happened.

Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul and will never be forgotten. Her music will live on forever. The funeral was over eight hours long and most of the entertainers of song were there. The funeral was filled with music coupled with speeches. Quite a few celebrities sang her songs and a few sang traditional songs that Blacks usually sing during high spirited church services. The eight hours were long although the music didn’t make it seem so.

She passed on as the queen she was. During her lying in state to the interment, she had three wardrobe changes and a viewing by thousands of people. She was driven in a nineteen forty nine (I think) white hearse, the same one her father was carried in. From all over the country pink Cadillacs were bought in and the long rows of cars were parked outside the church. This was in remembrance of her hit song “Pink Cadillac”. What a sight and what a way to go.

People were there that I have not seen in a long time and are very old as well. They all looked and sounded good. Stevie Wonder started his time by playing the harmonica, something I have not seen him do in many years, before he played the piano and sang. The church was jubilant with all the music and singing.

Senator John McCain’s funeral was solemn and the church was filled with dignitaries from all parts of the political world as well as both sides of the political aisle. Former President Obama and Former President Bush both spoke. President Trump was dis-invited and the eulogies, which include his daughter Meghan, took swipes at Trump. It was not a surprise.

I admired this man, not only as a military veteran but also as a politician. This was one person that was well known to reach across the aisle and work with everyone. He would disagree and, when shown something different that he could go along with, he would be man enough to agree. He did not put party ahead everything but cared about what was right, lawful, helped the USA, no matter the party view.

Unfortunately, Senator Graham, who was his very beat friend, a person that stood beside him on many, many views, and was against Trump as was Senator McCain is now staunchly in the President’s corner He has reversed almost everything he have said in the past. Oh, what can happen in a week (a day?).

So I watched funerals and I wonder, as I have in the past, what will mine be like? I really don’t want all the hoopla that go on (it’s a waste of money, in my opinion), just have a few prayers and bury me. I just hope I have lived up to the hopes and standards that was expected of me. I hope I haven’t done any wrong to anyone. I also hope I have been some help to someone that needed it. We all must pass on some day, let’s hope there is something good to say after you’re gone.

 

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Black History Programs

With February being Black History Month I was a little busy. Actually, the way I feel about it, there should be some way Black History is incorporated into each and every month. There is too much history, up front and much, much more hidden (think about the movie Hidden Figures), that is relevant and should be remembered. I have thought about the direction I wanted to go while writing this particular blog but there are many directions and my mind was mixing them all. I think I have a grasp of it for now.

I did not want to write anything that I have read or heard about. I want to give you personal experiences, experiences that are in line with what I am writing. My mind seem to drift off the main subject and I could write much more than I post. I’ll try to make it short and to the point although it is difficult when writing history or about historical figures. For instance, when I wrote about The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman, I only wrote about the time before he went into the military up to his graduating as a Tuskegee Airman. If I had written his entire story (I have him telling it to me on an over an hour long digital audio recording).

I was a part of one program where I was portrayed as Sen. Obama and then as President Obama. I read his speech when he was running for president and his farewell speech (I used my radio voice from my radio days). That was a nice program and I was told I did well. The audience was very small and I only counted three Black people in the place. Imperial Plaza have enough Black residents to fill the auditorium yet they come to very few programs and this was about them and for them. Yet, they complain there aren’t any programs for them, etc.

The second program was at the Virginia War Memorial. I was on the stage panel for a discussion plus a question and answer period. There were six of us and among us were Tuskegee Airmen, a woman (Army Retired) whose story would make you think of one of the women in the movie Hidden Figures), Viet Nam and the Iraq era. I can’t tell you who was more interesting, the Tuskegee Airmen or her. My input into the program did not hold a candle to theirs and I could have been listening all day to their stories.

The crowd was small and , here again, there should have been many more. After the panel stories, question and answer period, we went outside for a wreath laying. Franklin Military Academy presented The Colors and I assisted in the wreath laying ceremony. We pledged allegiance to The Flag, a female Franklin Academy Cadet sang the National Anthem and a cadet blew “Taps” on his trumpet. The weather co-operated. PBS was there and it aired the next morning and the papers were there but I did not see the article. All of it was beautiful. I could do this all year, not only during February.

The thing I am sad about is for the young people. Most are not interested in history, especially Black history. They know about some of the famous Black people but they do not know about the small things that were accomplished. Most do not want to know who did what or why. They seldom understand what the conditions and hold backs were. I have even found they have a lot of misconceptions about ancient history, like the Pyramids or the oldest operating library in the world. Things like this are important to me, personally, and it helped shape my mind and all my actions through life. The few that soak up history seem to be better because of it.

All of us on that stage at the Virginia War Memorial was a tiny sample of the history that is sort by historians. It was sad only three of four kids were there to hear about the tiny portion of history from the people that produced it. Yes, I am a part of it although I rarely talk about it. It started with Civil Rights and ended at my retirement from the military.

To those before me and/or accomplished more than I have, thank you. To those that are learning about past history, keep digging. There is a treasure trove to find. And, as I have said before, you will never know who you may be talking to because most will not say unless asked. That person may have a background that would shock you. Keep digging…