Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering our fallen and departed this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the time when we celebrate the lives and sacrifices of those who have given their lives in service to this nation. First celebrated on May 1st, 1865 by African Americans commemorating those who had given their lives in the Civil War, it became a National observance in 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic (a society of Civil War Veterans) called for its observance by all National posts.

But as we pause to remember those who gave their time, their youth, and their lives, to building a better nation through military service, let us also remember those who struggled here at home. For there is no national holiday or observance set forth for the remembrance of those who fought the nation's war against its own incivility. The war known only as 'the movement'. Our longest war; waged to rescue the nation from ignorance, hatred, violence, and oppression. Let us also remember those veterans as well.

As you place those steaks on the grill, carve out a moment to pay tribute and honor to our fallen and departed. Veterans like Ida B Wells, Carter G Woodson, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Mary McCleod Bethune, Martin King, Malcolm X, Dorothy Height, Enolia McMillan, Queen Mother Moore, John Hope Franklin, John Henrik Clark, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles Hamilton Houston, Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Medgar Evers, Vivian Jones, Marcus Garvey, WEB Dubois, Booker T Washington and countless others.

Let us bring forth the memories and call out the names of those veterans who have given and struggled within our local communities as well. Veterans like Chester I Lewis, Alphonso Harrell, and Jihad Muqtasid of Wichita, and Omar Ali-Bey of my hometown of Cleveland.

But most of all, let us remember this day, the nameless and faceless thousands who fought for us, and prayed for us, and sacrificed for us, and struggled for us, though they did not know our names. Let us remember all of those who braved pick-axes, billy clubs, fire hoses, and police dogs. Let us celebrate those who conquered their own fears and marched, chanted, protested, demonstrated, and faced down the powers that be demanding that this nation honor its own creed.

To you, the UNIA, SNCC, US, the Panthers, the Future Outlook Leagues, to all of you who history never recorded though your very lives shaped history... Today I say thank you... To all of you who cared enough to challenge the schools when they were being unfair to our babies, today I say thank you... To all of you who signed the petitions, carried the signs, or prayed for our deliverance, today I say thank you... To all of you who labored in the background, preparing the meals, setting up the chairs, doing the leg work, and making sure the venues were prepared, today I say thank you... Know that you are not forgotten... your sacrifices are remembered and appreciated... Thank you for your struggles, your battles, your successes, and your setbacks... In large part, it is to you that we owe our freedoms on this day; and for that we are eternally grateful...


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Jung/Myers Briggs

INTJ - "Mastermind". Introverted intellectual with a preference for finding certainty. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 2.1% of total population.
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