I just received the message below from one of my old Vietnam gunship pilots. It objects to the “outrage” of the NAACP covering up a statue of George Washington during this year’s Martin Luther King celebration in Columbia, SC. I don’t even know if this happened. I’m a reporter and I’m supposed to check this stuff out, but in this case, I don’t care. Someone sent me this, assuming that it happened. So I’ll assume it did, too. Here’s my take.
George Washington was one of the great human beings of history, in my view. But in the vice of history in which he and his contemporaries were held, they dreamed a dream of freedom that held the nightmare of slavery within it. That was WRONG. The ideals that the founding fathers themselves fought and died for and handed down to posterity tell us it was wrong. To not denounce it as wrong is an act of apostasy.
Was the gesture of the NAACP reported here “a disgusting display of anti-Americanism,” as the email’s author fumed? Sure it was– but only in the sense that Sen. Joseph McCarthy was correct in calling Gen. George Marshall a communist. The evidence suggests to me, however, that Gen. Marshall was more like Gen. Washington than Commissar Lenin.
But that’s just me. Maybe all the NAACP was trying to do was keep the faith in breaking a toxic silence, and to make darned sure that the silence stays broken, because the body and soul of America are still healing from slavery. If so, I’m grateful to be able to add my two cents worth.
In Vietnam, in 1967-68, my brother who sent me this message and I had the honor of flying with a helicopter gunship platoon that answered to the call sign Mustang. I write a little about this in a blog post below.
“Thank you for calling the Mustangs. How may we direct our fire?” That was our spirit.
Every day was the OK Corral for us. In III Corps of South Vietnam — the Mekong Delta — every day and every night there was an OK Corral happening somewhere. We were gunfighters. We went to the gunfights the infantry invited us to. That’s how we could help keep them alive so they could come home to the American Dream. We put our snouts right in the enemy’s fire. At the end of those engagements the fingers of both dissentient parties were not still on their triggers. We were fierce. That’s what the job required. You couldn’t do what we did–put your life on the line with unalloyed commitment day after day–unless you believed in the reason you were doing it.
I was in Vietnam for only 12 months, nine of them in helicopters, 1,200 combat hours. I volunteered for the draft, volunteered for Vietnam, volunteered for combat. I fought to get into the fight. In the years since then I have countless times asked myself what I really meant to fight for in Vietnam. I always get the same answer. If the NAACP really did what the message below claims, that is a variation on the answer I get.
Freedom, man! FREEDOM!
If the NAACP really did what the message below claims, it’s easy for me to imagine the good Gen. Washington and the good Dr. King standing together somewhere inside the Pearly Gates, each with an arm draped over the shoulder of the other, saying, “Come on, people. Think about this. Work together. Get your heads out of your mess kits.”
Seems to me the NAACP is missing an “A” from its initials. Should be NAAACP–National Association for the Advancement of All Colored People, white being a color, too.
On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 7:38 AM, ___ wrote:Another one missed by the NY Times
Where is the OBAMA outrage?
George Washington statue is hidden at the MLK rally in Columbia , SC. The annual MLK observance at the state house in Columbia SC had an interesting twist this year.
The event is held on the north side steps of the statehouse. Prominent at that location is a large bronze statue of George Washington. This year, the NAACP constructed a “box” to conceal the Father of His Country from view so that participants would not be offended by his presence. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this picture of the MLK Day rally in Columbia , South Carolina yesterday. This rally was sponsored by the NAACP and they said that they covered the statue because they “didn’t want to offend anyone”. Really? George Washington is the father of this nation. How is he offensive to anyone? Can you imagine what would happen if we covered the statue of Dr. King on President’s Day? Of course, this disgusting display of anti-Americanism wasn’t covered at all by the national media and only the local paper in Columbia had a little piece on it. It has been covered a little by the blog-world and I think the word needs to get out to the general public that this is what the NAACP is all about…..militant, hateful and racist. In doing this, they disrespected Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I bet he would be equally disgusted. Awful.