While waiting for my food to be prepared at a local fast food establishment, I notice this beautiful black couple sitting close to each other and presenting this very special glow that emanated from their countenance. The man was proudly wearing a cap that read “United States Army” with an eye catching emblem. Several minutes passed by as fast food is no longer fast and I asked the man “Vietnam or Germany?” He responded, “K-Town” when I inquired about his duty station in Germany. I replied “Kaiserslautern?” as he expressed a sense of comrade to my acknowledgement and the conversation was on.
I explained how I was once station outside of “K-Town” and named the towns and famous German sites that I had visited. I explained how I was not enamored with the army (but loved Germany) and only did two years in the military, not knowing back then that you had to do “twenty years” somewhere. He went on to explain how he retired after doing twenty years in the army and later retired from the railroad after doing another “twenty five years”. His beautiful black wife asked if I had learned any German while station there and we rekindle past years gone by when I responded “kommen Sie bitte hier” and “Auf Wiedersehen.” She went on to explained how she had lived in Germany for more than three years while her husband was station there and at one time taught a culture diversity class “in German” to her students. “I spoke German and wrote in German” she replied. “I was much younger and smarter back then” she stated.” You have to learn to think in their language” she responded as I had told her about me and my wife’s most recent trip to the Republic of Panama and how one feels when around others who speak a different language. Later I would learn that her husband spoke French and had tours of duty in France, Italy and Thailand. Also that she was a retired registered nurse and a minister. I had stated earlier how strange it was that many of today’s generation of youth are not employed and can not retire from one job let alone two. “You have paid your dues” I said as the couple got their food from the waiter and left. “I know she has” replied her husband, “she has put up with me for more than fifty years” reflecting on the years of their matrimony. Funny, I never asked their name but when they had left, I was left with a sense of amazement and awe as the words “you have to think in their language” kept bouncing around in my head.
As we celebrate February as Black History Month which is a misnomer, I can’t help but think that every month is Black History Month, Black History Week and Black History Day. Not only should Black History, but White, Brown, Yellow and Red History and any other complexion that one may have been endowed by their creator should be remembered, and celebrated. Reportedly some of the black middle school students referred to Malcolm X as “Malcolm Ten.” I can imagine that Marcus, Megar, Malcolm and Martin frequently look down after discussing among themselves how far we as a people and nation have fallen because we have forgotten past struggles, past sacrifices and the cost measured in blood and tears that bestowed the benefits of our current station in life. Somewhere between the great civilizations of Africa to our Civil Rights Era of America, it appears that Black history has been lost, stolen or strayed.
Not only has Black “History” been lost, but “HIS-STORY”, the God-man’s history has been lost, stolen or strayed. There is one who split time and history into half, using “BC and AD” as the dividing line for time. The one who said “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength….You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7. I am reminded of an African Folklore where the African Chief tells his young son how a young warrior encountered a lion and killed the lion in the battle. Years later as the young lad became older he asked his dad after learning that the lion was the “king of the jungle” how was it that the young warrior growing up always defeated the lion. The wise and noble African Chief replied to his son, “When the lion starts telling the story, then the lion can win.”
As Black History Month draws to a close, we should reflect and remember on “how we overcame as a people?” We should reflect and remember the price that was paid in blood, in sweat and in tears for us to enjoy the fruit of others who labored, who sacrificed and who died. The bridge to the future is irrevocably tied to the past and the present. And finally we should reflect and remember on our history as well as “HIS-STORY.” Lest They Forget…