One person's thoughts may change the world
History. I love this word. Nothing can better can describe the past better than the word history. History comes in all forms, from written text, to old stories of the past being past down from one generation to another. History can be told in a painting, depicting epic battles, a scenic view, a person, frozen in time. History can also be told by music, lyrical passages of a different time period, that still can be relevant to exact time you’re listening to it, which makes it ageless, priceless. Many jazz tunes are that way. When you listen to jazz tunes of the 50’s and 60’s era, that music can pass for being created in the current era of music you are in. Yet, when you listen to it, you can at times, “feel” it’s historical reference.
And, then there are picture. Pictures capture a moment like never before the invention of the camera. No other war capture the epic nature and brutal reality of battle than the American Civil War. In it, you can see how people dressed, what soldiers wore into battle, the proud look and the determined nature on their faces. Never before was there something to remind you of the carnage of war, men who were struck down in battle, fallen on their faces, some times mutilated by whatever weapon that killed them. No longer having to rely on someone painting what a grand battle looked like, pictures give you real time of what was happening. Of who they were, there personality there voice.
So, that’s why I’m showing you these pictures. They are 66 years old, taken in 1946. The picture are of the 3534 Quartermaster truck company. These men drove ordnance for the troops fighting on the front lines. If you can’t tell they are all African American. All except the commanding officers. They are all some handsome set of guys. Not part of the great experiment of the Tuskegee airmen. These were the grunts, the regular guys, drafted, taken out of their environment, and mostly from the south. But dang, look closely at them, some look friendly, big smiles. Others look astute and serious. Some look proud and focused. Some even look happy. Some have that classic distant look in their eyes, almost looking through it.
What’s even better is, there is a name associated with each picture, given them even character. You have to remember, these handsome young gentlemen were just two generations past slavery. Wow, isn’t that remarkable? Yet, the government did see fit that African Americans could fight in the great war of WWII. So very, very fiew saw combat, and fewer made officers grade, which equated to more money. Now don’t get me wrong, there were some standard bearers that paved the way for President Truman to invoke Executive Order 9981 issued on July 26, 1948. It abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.
This picture was taken two years before, just two short years, but that order was miles ahead of the civil rights movement. In fact, if it weren’t for these men, and many more company’s like them, civil right may have been delayed a few more years. There example of service helped pave the way for the African American, and for that matter, for clearer thinking of all Americans about race.
Yet, the same discrimination these men had to deal with was also the reason why they took this picture together. In fact, all African American soldiers who took pictures like this should be declared a historical record in our nations history. They had to fight to wars, one from within, and one which the country asked them to do. So to see these guys, and the proud look on all of there faces, show the dignity, humility, courage, and bravery they showed despite their second class citizenship.
Perhaps there is some irony to some of these picture. Perhaps you had an uncle who served, a father, a brother, or perhaps you served in a similar unit like this. Many of these young men were hardly over 21. Yet they served in Italy, France on D-day+1 and in Belgium. They even were part of the Red ball express, helping Patton and other General drive towards Germany. Finally, pictures like these open up the world of the African American, of their service, the duty, their sacrifice, and their honor to wear their uniforms. If it wasn’t for them, many of “us” would not be hear today.
I was able to obtain this picture over my mother’s house. I wanted to make a copy of my father in his uniform, but she couldn’t find it. But, she did have this one, which I did not know existed. It gave me a sense of pride for all of them along with seeing the only hero I’ve ever know, who was just a young single man drafted from Macon, Georgia. No smile was on his face, but I could tell that there was no anger in his eyes. He took is picture with dignity on his face, his proud face.
Frankly, today’s world need a new set of these strong young men, willing to stand for something, trained will, looking as if they have a cause and the ability to achieve and do something. I am so proud to say my father is in these picture. T-5 which is equivalent to a corporal, either a truck driver, or worked on them. Most of these guys go some educational assistance, to get new jobs. I am proud of these men for the service to there country as we approach Memorial day, and hope the remembrance victory, and many of the sacrifices these young men looking what was promised. SO there you having a priceless picture at a time of global war.
By the way, on the second page, look four rows down and the last person is the person whom I’m hear for. I was looking for his picture over my mother’s and discovered this in the process. That’s him, all 22 years old of him, My father, J. H. Myrick…wow…