February 28, 2014
Technically, if you ask the insurance company actuaries, today is my 85th birthday. Don't you worry if you missed sending me a birthday card. My actual birthday is not until the 28th of August, but since the February date represents six months past the actual date of an insured's birth, they declare you to be the age you will become on your next anniversary. Don't worry, it's just their way of increasing your "investment". And don't worry if you think it is unfair; it is just the way it is. Life moves on....
Well, you could say that I received a birthday present, early, yesterday. I watched our President on TV announcing another new program, but don't fret, it won't cost you a dime. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, it could - possibly, save you some money, in the form of tax dollars you might not be spending.
This new program, entitled "My Brother's Keeper" is based on the President's realization that he suffered through many of the same obstacles facing far too many of our young "black" brothers. In my words, they face an identity crisis and it has become a fact of life in too many homes in America.
Yes, I know, I faced similar struggles when I was young, but I was not black, but white, and tho people who could help me were generous in their contributions. There was seldom any reluctance on their part. Then, I learned about such problems while I was in the Air Force and because of my job as a Personnel technician on our base in Japan, I was instructed to help with the integration of blacks into the routines of what had been, an all white organization.
At first, I was rather apprehensive; in fact, a Master Sergeant who out ranked me in our offices assured me that integration would never work. Well, it did work, thanks to the quality of black airmen assigned to our base. They were - as a matter of fact, some of the finest men I have ever worked with. Three of them would become my life long friends. Remember now, I was a white boy raised in an all-white farm community in Michigan. I had never seen a black person up close until those men came into my life.
Then, I chose to attend college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA in 1953. It was not long before the Supreme Court ruled on the Brown vs. Board of Education case, granting blacks the right to attend schools that had previously rejected blacks. Working, part time, in a local department store, I was shocked to hear the responses of my all white co-workers on the day that decision was announced.
Had I not been recently married and was intent of earning a college degree, I would have been ready to join my brothers and sisters in the struggle to gain their dignity in the Southern states. As it was, I made a decision that I would never cease to promote racial equality, wherever, whenever, and I am proud to say I have never reneged on that vow.
The fact that we have a black couple as leaders in a nation that came together agreeing to the premise that all peoples are created equal in the site of God, it should be obvious that we should all agree that this thought be uppermost in our thoughts and intentions. Unfortunately, it is not.
Therefore, our President has acted on our behalf. He has not asked us to join with him, financially, as he asked many of our nation's leading organizations and employers to do, but if we are agreed that - in spite of our often publicized differences, we need to right the wrongs experienced by too many blacks, then this is our opportunity to help. That is my prayer that we will do so without even a murmur of discontent. We have had more than enough of political wrangling in recent years.
As I learned so many years ago, thanks to a high school Commercial teacher who assumed he could teach me to type by having us repeat the following, over and over and over again - "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of our country," I think these words say what needs to be said.