Tag Archives: WWII

Memberships

I am proud to announce that I have been accepted into the Tuskegee Airman, Howard Baugh Chapter. I will be helping to spread the memory of these fine brave men and to help the chapter grow. It is an honor to give a hand and attempt to educate the younger generation about these men. Not only were they the men depicted in the movie “Red Tails”, but they did so much more. If it were not for them, African-Americans would not be where they are today in the military. Black people have been in every war and conflict that this country ever had. They were even on both sides of the Civil War. Another fact I want to put in…Capt. Howard L. Baugh of the 99th Fighter Squadron earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism on a mission on 12 May, 1944.

Then the history goes even further than that. Blacks started out in the Revolutionary War up to the present time. Blacks were flying in other countries before they were reluctantly excepted in the USA. Even then, they were given inferior equipment and segregated from the rest of the units. And looking at the movie “Red Tails”, they still did not gain the respect or honors as others, especially when they came back to America.

After World War Two, they were disbanded but some stayed in the Army and, after the Air Force was founded, some crossed over to it. Therefore, there was army and air force veterans that were actual Tuskegee Airmen in World War Two, The Korean War and The Viet Nam War, not counting the smaller conflicts around the world that we as Americans had a part in. Again, I am proud to be apart of them. I will do my best writing for them and speak when and where ever I can. Check them out on the internet http://www.hbc-tai.org

I am still part of the Mighty Pen Project (MPP), check them out on Facebook. I love to occasionally submit a story or two, for whichever class is in session at the time. The writings get dissected, sliced and diced and my heart sinks when there is something wrong that I should have known better. Such is life and a person learn from the mistakes. Therefore, I am happy to report that the Mighty Pen Project is still going strong and is gaining momentum. Let’s bring more aboard.

There is one more thing that have just come up and I will express my opinion in this blog. In other words, I want to vent so I may go on with life. I try to write my blogs, this one and the one with the religious theme, in a way that everyone can understand, both American and non-American. Some people call it “dummy down”. I call it using plain English. What I am referring to is an article I read the other day that used English but I still could not read it without using a dictionary for every third or fourth word. The article used long intricate words that defied the knowledge of the reader. I really don’t think the average PhD. grad could understand what was written. Why use such wording to confuse the average individual? I say this…I will continue to use plain English and if there is something that is not understood, let me know and I will attempt to clarify it. If I continue to confuse people, I am sorry and will try to change for the better.

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A Week of Delectation

I am still on cloud nine from all that I have seen, done and went through this week. In a nut shell, I interviewed the last graduating airman from the famed Tuskegee Airmen of Tuskegee, Ala. Myself and Len Rasmusen, with Len driving, went to northern Virginia to meet with (Ret.) Col. Carl Johnson. He was the last to graduate because before his class graduated he had a bout of appendicitis and was hospitalized. When he got out of the hospital, his class had graduated and he was all alone. He was thinking he would be sent home but, instead, he was allowed to finish his training and graduate as the Last Tuskegee Airman.

At 91, he is clear voiced, full of spirit and was eager to talk about his storied career as an Army Officer although he did time in the USAF and the Army National Guard. Through him, I found out about Tuskegee Airmen flying bombers, although it was after WWII. He also flew in Korea and Viet Nam and was posted at the Pentagon, among many other places. Len and I viewed a number of scrapbooks and saw pictures of many people of note, such as Gen. Chappie James as a lieutenant. We were told that he was good friends with Chappie James, because he was his co-pilot, and they remained friends for years.

I have it all recorded so I can refer to it as I write a longer, more precise, work for The MPP (The Mighty Pen Project), the Virginia War Memorial and self-gratification. I love history. Everything about history. I love to dig deeper as I ask the question, why? I don’t mind the research nor do I mind the inevitable self induced trance I fall into.

In the middle of the week Imperial Plaza took us to the new Afro-American Museum, officially entitled, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. After lunch in Washington, D.C., we traveled the very short distance to the museum, which was very crowded. A word of caution for anyone that is planning to go there. Go on-line and get tickets first but plan to wait a few months before the tickets will allow entrance. Getting tickets now will allow you entry in April or May although there is a line for people that arrive without a reservation but there is not a guarantee that you will get in that way, even if you wait all day.

There is no way you can view the entire museum in one day so I concentrated on the lower three floors (basement) of the eight floors. I quickly went through most of the displays, not spending too much time on any one thing. I had three hours and almost didn’t make it although three hours seem like a long time but when you are engrossed in the displays, time flies and there is so much.

The thing that bothered me most were not the displays but the kids. Most of the kids were either running through the place, playing with each other or mindlessly texting. The great majority were not interested and, I will make a bet, could not tell you about anything there. What a shame. What a waste.

In that section was a short display on the Tuskegee Airmen and, I noticed, one of the pictures on display was one that I took a photo of from Col. Johnson’s scrapbook. There, on display, is one of the planes that the Tuskegee Airmen flew (The Spirit Of Tuskegee) and a few other pictures. I wish the display had more but you take whatever there is to take. The photos of some of the grotesque hangings done to my people where very haunting to say the least. The display of an actual slave house really show how small they were for the number of people that lived in them, or should I say survived in them. That’s all there was then, survival any way you could.

That was my week and I am overjoyed to have lived it. Col. Johnson and the museum made my entire week and I’m happy for it. Imperial Plaza’s Activity Department get thumbs up for the work in getting tickets, getting us there and getting us back safely. Praises to Kayle, Ron and Jerome.

See you next blog. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, although it will automatically pop up on other sites (twitter, google, etc). The weekend is coming and my wife and I are off again. Our schedule is full and we have a lot of fun and adventures to catch up on. Bye-bye and remember…Be kind to your neighbors and ensure your words are soft and sweet.

Memories

Memories are everything. It drives us as well as, sometimes, makes us cry. Some memories are happy and some are sad but any memory is what can make us stronger. Fourteen years ago, do you remember where you were, what you were doing and who you were with? Do you remember the twin towers in New York City? That is what I am getting to and I still remember it well.

It make me feel very old knowing I remember it so clearly and remember how I felt, etc. Memories can have a nostalgic effect so powerful that it can consume your entire being and overwhelm you to a point that you will cry, laugh or just see the whole episode appear before you like a picture show. The sound, emotion and every other thing that goes with it will sometimes seem so real. You can hear a song that will take you back to a time that has long ago passed. Memories certainly have a strong effect.

I remember I was in the radio studio reading my last commercial of the morning, preparing to leave for the day. I remember how a young intern ran into the room and handed me a note. I remember reading the note, while I did the commercial (back then I could do more than one thing at a time). I remember putting the note down and continuing the commercial. The intern picked up the note and gave it to me again. I closed the mike and said I didn’t have time for jokes. She said it wasn’t a joke and I froze. I only had ten minutes left at the station but it turned out to be another five hours that I was on the air. The Twin Towers had fallen.

Memories are everything. Relatives, friends, incidents (pleasure and/or disaster) and just plain craziness. At Imperial Plaza more memories, than I care to imagine, are floating around in the heads of the many people here. Stories about WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam War and just plain life from many, many years ago. When these people, myself included, are gone, so are those memories and the history that was never written. These are people that are in their nineties and early hundreds. I was speaking with a gentleman that was ninety one and he was telling me about the WWII B-29’s. First hand experience. Real life history and not the canned stuff that is shown on the History Channel. Only the stuff that makes good documentaries and the stuff that makes the government look good is there. Not the stuff that falls between the cracks and goes unknown to the generation that doesn’t know how it really was back in those days.

Let us cherish the memories of our self and of others. Memories of others may tell you something interesting as well as something you may not have known. Once that person is called away, that memory is gone forever and it can not be retold the way it was remembered.