I worked on a presentation for the Smithsonian on African American military members using paintings from the American Art Gallery. The presentation was not entirely used because the Smithsonian does not like Wikapedia. The article I used was written by one of the foremost writers on Buffalo Soldiers. He could not get his book published, so he resorted to Wikipedia.
But I digress.
What brave men the African American soldiers were- fighting against the enemy outside and inside the country.
This is another one that I used. A pen and ink from World War I. Did you know that the French would serve African Americans, but the US mess soldiers would not?
Here is my father in law at the beginning of WWII. He did not become a pilot- got air sick. He became a mechanic on the Anolea Gay. I'd show you a picture of my brother in law, but we don't have one of him in uniform. He was a crew chief gunner in the worst part of Vietnam. He returned twice- my sister in law said it was out of guilt of leaving others behind.
Both men are gone now, but their life memories are strong for me.
I'd like to show you another picture. Neil Hyland.
Neil was a crazy man. He went to Notre Dame, graduated near the top in his class, went to seminary, and then joined the Army. I last saw him on a Metro. I was standing at a station with my class of 8th graders visiting DC. There he was. He laughed when we saw each other- remembering our long hours of playing RISK while he and my husband went to advanced course. He left us on 9/11 serving at the Pentagon.
Soldiering was not really a career tasking in our family until my husband. My grandfather served with the big guns in WWI and then came home. My father served in Hawaii at the end of WWII and then went to college. My daughter joined the AirForce and my son in law the Marines. Both served and got out to start a different life of service.
My husband was a career man- after Vietnam and nine years of college.
I know I am early, but I will be pretty quiet the next few days. Going out to help my daughter find a place to live. And this Memorial Day I will be walking in Arlington. I'll touch a flag for you.
Who will your remember?