I was delighted to read the Feb. 24 letter “Remember the Red Ball Express,” sent by Sherri Jones Rivers. While Black History Month is over, we should nevertheless remember the service and sacrifices of all our servicemen and women in World War II more often.
There were other African-American soldiers who contributed to that war – i.e., the 761st Tank Battalion, which served in Europe with the 26th Infantry Division; and, as we are all familiar with, the Tuskegee Airmen.
I was a young child during World War II and had a brother who served in the U.S. Navy, having been drafted while still a senior in high school. Our patriotism during those war years was a great part of our lives. We would huddle together around small radios for any news that might let us know any little scrap of information about how the war was going. Our parents would work at what were called “war plants,” doing jobs that would support the troops. We rationed sugar, coffee, gas, tires, etc., so that there would be more of these items available to go to our troops. We didn’t buy new shoes; we resoled the ones we had – they needed the leather.
If you will look at your children’s homework, you
will no doubt learn there is little or no mention of World War II. This is the war that saved not only our country, but the world. Imperfect as the world may be at times, it was sure worth saving. It was saved by all of us: black, white, American Indians and immigrants, male and female.
I had the good fortune in recent years to work for the nonprofit Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. Since 1981 this organization has recruited Bulge veterans, their families and historians in an effort to see that this pivotal battle is never forgotten. It taught me so much about the “Greatest Generation.” If you would like to learn more about this battle, there is a wealth of information on their website, battleofthebulge.org. You might also mention it to your children.