Posted on January 14, 2010
In April 1968 I was stationed at Naval Aviation Training Station in Milington Tennessee. Milington Tennessee is Just north of Memphis. I was a Seaman In the U.S. Coast Guard training to become a airman structual/hydralic mechanic.. The Coast Guard at that time did not have enough Compliment (people) or funding to have their own Aviation training facility, so the Coast Guard paid the Navy for training us. I married Marinette Sept. 20 1967 and very soon there after headed for Memphis. Marinette is a Filipinos-American. As we were approaching Tennessee from Arkansas I heard on the news that the first interracial marriage performed in the State of Tennessee happened that weekend. This announcement brought trepidation to my wife and somewhat to myself. The next 6 months were intense. Marinette was pregnant with our one and only daughter. I came down with German Measles ( mild measles with probability of very bad birth defects for pregnant women). My daughter was born breach and the dilivery was hard but she was healthy with no defects. There was daily shipments of wounded and dismembered Marines and Sailors returning from Viet Nam to the Military Hospital on the base. There was a Garbage strike in Shelby County (the County that Memphis is in) and Martin Luther was assassinated. There were riots luting and the National Guard was on the Streets. The entire City of Memphis was off limits for all personal on the base ( went in town anyway for Martin Luther along with Mahatma Gandhi are two of my greatest human hero's). I was brought up in Santa Clara County and though out my life up to that point there was not a majority of any ethnic group ever in my schools or neighborhood. I became more realistic in my understanding of the hate and prejudiced that was across the nation at that time.. I found that the northern states were nearly as bad as the south in their fear based prejudicial thoughts.
The practice of non-violent and peaceful loving actions in the face of death is a powerful life to live. Today with so many dead and suffering from the earthquake in Haiti I am touched by the fellowship of mankind that is available to all of us human beings on this planet. I only hope that the concept of respect and integrity with a large dose of love, compassion, grace and service guide all of us for the rest of our human history on this planet.