Sons of Heroes

I have an explanation for one source of African-American unrest, but I have to tell a bit of my history to explain. 

My dad was a WW2 Navy veteran. 
Born in 1921, he finished eighth grade in school. Then, as the third oldest of 10 kids, he went to work to help support the family. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he and three of his brothers enlisted in the US Military. 
Dad was assigned to the USS Chilton, APA 38, a troop ship, and was involved in moving US Marines and Chinese troops to the beach in the Okinawa Invasion in 1945, among other places. 75 years ago, in 1945. His ship took two hits from kamikaze planes during the war. He was also missing in action for a time when the USS Chilton sank in rough seas. I saw the telegraph his mother received from the War Department. 

I’ve said all that to say that I grew up in the shadow of a man who played a real part in a piece of history that changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. And here I am, leading a fairly mediocre life, compared to those of ‘the greatest generation’. 

Now, about today’s young black men who were too young to participate in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Being born in 1955, 
I remember sitting at the supper table in the middle 1960s, listening to Walter Cronkite talk about national events, including racial unrest. A lot young blacks then went through a war of their own, with their white allies, and started the equality machine that Jim and Jane Crow tried to silence, both in the South and the North. 

Just as I grew up hearing tales of the good times and bad times my dad went through during WW2, I’m sure many young blacks grew up hearing a lot of stories about their fathers’ and grandfathers’ struggles and successes in their efforts for civil rights. Next to them, many young blacks undoubtedly feel they are leading a fairly mediocre life, as I am now. Sometimes it’s hard to match your father’s performance in the world. We want to look for enemies to fight like they did. But we have to be sure they truly are enemies. 

That I can remember, apart from his war experiences, my dad never spoke a bad word about the Japanese. He didn’t spend his time hating on them after afterwards. When white me, raised in Iowa, whose dad fought the Japanese in WW2, see today’s young blacks hating on whites, 
it saddens me. What if my father had trained me to hate the Japanese like the old civil rights activists train young black men to hate white people today? My 2017 vacation to Toronto and Seattle would have been a nightmare. Lot's of Asians.

The black community needs to learn to build a legacy for itself without hating whites, for those that can truly succeed on their own, don’t need to hate others. We need to learn how to honor legitimate soldiers of pasts conflicts, while building bridges between the children of former adversaries. 

 Eric J. Rose