Thursday, January 22, 2009

A difficult truth: With a black president, many more blacks need to step up in war on terror

As we were gazing upon the pictures of Tennessee Marines who have fallen in the war on terror, the Gold Star mothers and fathers, sister and stepfathers reached the same conclusion:

Only white and Hispanic faces made up those of the fallen. That must change now in a nation headed by a black president.

In all the joy of Jan. 20 and every day before by African-Americans, they have neglected to note the lack of full service by their children in the war on terror. In fact, whites and Hispanics have done more of the dying compared to their percentage in the population.

There could not be a black president without such sacrifice, or any new president. So now African-Americans face the choice of service or continued selfishness.

The war in Afghanistan is heightening. And my friend, Sgt. Zachary Ross of Nashville, is returning to his fifth tour of duty. That is too much. But he must make up for the large lack of African-American participation in defending this nation and its freedoms.

Yes, African-Americans have died in the war on terror. But not in their proportion to the population. Obama should speak out on this now.

There is a lack of appreciation for those who have died in the war among too many African-Americans. I discovered that Tuesday night at the inaugural ball held here for President Obama which featured the Gold Star families and my buddy, the Marine sergeant.

The head of a local black newspaper and a minor ball organizer decided to turn a room I had requested for the Gold Star families into a place for the moneychangers before the temple. And when I noted the sacrifice of the white men and Hispanic men on display, she said, "I know, I know, we run their names. What else do you want me to say."

Run their names? That is far from enough. Yet she did not even take the time to come over to table of Gold Star families and thank them for their service. Few people did. And of those who did, it was mostly white folks, not black folks.

Talk is cheap. All the celebrating and dancing for Obama is over. Now is the time for responsibility and self-sacrifice. That's what Obama called for his inaugural address. Did they not hear?

That means a hell of a lot more African-Americans signing up to fight and die, if necessary, so that the next display of men and women who have died for this nation is much more diverse.

No comments: