As we celebrated Veterans Day on Monday, my thoughts were with America’s soldiers, grateful to the courageous women and men who served in any branch of our military forces.
Our soldiers, often called the world’s greatest military fighters, I honor and respect you.
Lucius Gantt served in the Army. No, not me. My father. I was told he was an aircraft mechanic for the famed Tuskegee Airmen. I’ve seen pictures but my Dad never spoke about his military exploits. Looking back at it, I imagine he was angry about how easily other aircraft mechanics left the military to go on and work for airlines and other companies and black military airplane mechanics did not. He never encouraged me to seek a military career but he did prefer Joe Frazier over Muhammad Ali because Ali “didn’t want to ‘serve’ his country.”
My father was a fighter on and off the battlefield. His nick name was “Scrap” and he was known far and wide as someone who wouldn’t hesitate to slap or fight his boss on different jobs.
And, because of my Dad, the military veteran, I wanted to be a soldier, too. But instead of fighting in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan or on some other foreign soil, I decided to fight wherever I was.
I was not in a world war, a Middle East war, a European or Caribbean conflict. I have been, I am and I always will be a soldier in God’s army fighting for freedom, fighting for justice, fighting for community self-determination, fighting for better schools, fighting for affordable health care, fighting for seniors and fighting for our youth.
So, while we need to pay a big tribute to the military soldiers and we need also to pay a little tribute to the community soldiers. Those family members, friends, neighbors, church members, Masonic brothers, sorors, fraternity brothers and strangers who go out of their way to stand up for you when you want to run and hide deserve your respect and appreciation.
Those people who stand with you when you are being harassed or mistreated in the workplace need your gratitude.
And, those people who risked their reputations fighting for you, risked their jobs and careers fighting for you and even risked their lives for something that you believed in deserve your utmost and heartfelt thanks.
I salute all of America’s soldiers fighting on far away battlefields as well as those fighting on the highways and byways and in the ghettos and barrios right here in America.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at www.allworldconsultants.net