Why we have always fought


My family has always been patriotic in the traditional sense. In every generation of which I am aware, at least one person has served in the military. For me joining the military was one the most painful decision I ever made. Ironically, it was also one of the best. At the time that I made that fateful move, I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I was confused and needed a way out of what I had been doing. I had spent time without a permanent address and it seemed I was a million miles away from my ambitions.

I was quite clear I had no desire to fight in Vietnam, the way that my uncle had done. I did a quick analysis of my prospects as a young black man and rolled the dice. To get away from the troubles I had surrounded myself with and to be something different.

My greatest hope is that more opportunities will become available for the children of my nephews. Without my military service as a lifeline I might not have lived to see my recovery. I would rather be the uncle that they had a chance to meet and respect than to be the one who they knew only through his writings on the way

Younger brother James as a teen
Younger brother James as a teen

The uncle my nephews never knew

 

Uncle Johnnie, victim of Agent Orange in Vietnam
Uncle Johnnie, victim of Agent Orange in Vietnam

This caption is incorrect. I believe this is my nephew William, who left the military due to a disability and went back to school.

For all of my family, those who served and those who fought the war at home, I wish you all the happiest and most peaceful of Memorial Days.

 

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