One of the things I love most about my job, is being able to meet ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary feats. For, what they have achieved–sometimes despite hardships and the need to overcome great barriers–is awe inspiring and can serve as a lesson to us all.
Take the Montford Point Marines. In December, I had the good fortune to sit down with three of the original Montford Point Marines. They are a little known part of American history, the first black men to be called to duty by the Marines, beginning in 1942. They answered the call, bravely, selflessly and faithfully, but were met with racism, discrimination and harsh conditions, every step of the way. They fought hard for the right to fight. They fought, too, for the right to receive a promotion and to serve side-by-side with their fellow white Marines.
While I listened to them tell their stories, I felt something monumental happening and the words that kept going through my head were “living history,” which is when I realized I was standing in the presence of greatness.
Wanting to do their story justice, I wrote it as best I could, pouring my heart into it. For these men deserve so much more than that. They deserve our eternal gratitude.
The men of Montford Point are heroes and I’m thrilled to share Part I of their story with you today, as posted on my Hey Neighbor blog. Part Two will also post this week.
In honor of Black History Month, I hope you’ll read it, for their story is astounding and one that needs to be shared. Everyone should know about the brave African Americans who fought, despite everything, simply for love of their country. I’m including an excerpt here, but to read it all, please visit my Hey Neighbor blog.
Thank you so much!
True heroism. You can see it in their hands, brown and weathered. Their long fingers, slightly bent from the weight of the load they’ve had to carry. It’s in their faces too, which exemplify a quiet dignity, and in their eyes, which glisten like gems from beneath the Pacific. An homage perhaps, to their time in Hawaii, Saipan, Guam and Okinawa. The crevices that line their faces and their somber, knowing smiles reveal a measure of the life they’ve lived.
They are three African-American gentlemen. One a bachelor, one a widower and one married now for 56 years. Grandchildren of slaves, born and raised in the South, they’ve been at the forefront of history, breaking barriers and standing up for what is right, amidst racism, discrimination and segregation. And they achieved this by serving in the U.S. Marine Corps…