Sunday, February 20, 2005


A Lesson for Iraq

Tonight I went to an observance of Black History Month. One of the officers gave an inspirational talk about "Defining Success." My Captain read Langston Hughes, "Will V-Day be Me-Day Too?" Echoed several times was the sentiment that the history of America is not perfect and for minorities a story of many struggles, but that the U.S. Military offered the best hope in each generation that people of color could define their own success.

Had we adhered to the founding tenets of democracy, so much of that history of struggle might have been avoided. But Iraqis, in grappling with the challenge of representative democracy in a multiethnic and religious diversity, has a chance to grow stronger from celebrating that diversity. And perhaps learn some painful lessons by observation, not experience.

A concluding plea from Hughes:

As a soldier, and a friend.
When this war comes to an end,
Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car
Like cattle?

Or will you stand up like a man
At home and take your stand
For Democracy?
That's all I ask of you.
When we lay the guns away
To celebrate
Our Victory Day
That's what I want to know.

GI Joe.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes published by Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]