I was only three years old when my mother and father separated and divorced, so I never knew very much about my dad except that he was a strong person with a short temper. He came to visit us a few times as I was growing up until the last time I saw him he was in the VA hospital. I knew he had been a sergeant in the army and had fought in World War Two. Given the state of photography back in the 50s, we didn’t take many pictures, so I don’t have a photograph of him.
As I grew older and realized that life wasn’t easy for Black men in the fifties, especially those who had been in combat. They may have been gallant warriors over in Europe, but back home, they were just ordinary Negroes.
Over the years, my mom never said a bad word about him., he was just gone from our lives. My mom never remarried.
One day, browsing the internet, I goggled his name only to find his obituary. Having been in combat, and much older, I realized that there was a lot that I didn’t know about him, but wanted to know. I knew that he wasn’t a bad person, but had been changed by what he had experienced. Combat changes people. He was one of those forgotten Black soldiers that landed on Normandy on D-Day and served all the way from France and into Germany.
So, one day, I gathered all the information I could find and contacted the Army.
A few weeks later, I received a package with all the medals he had earned. during the war. Needless to say, even though I never really knew him, I am extremely proud to be his son. He was a true American hero.