Thankful Strother's story of his life experiences is moving and profound. He does a remarkable job of bringing the reader into his world. While reading his stories, I felt like I was in the room with him and he was sharing the details of all of his adventures in the south and in Europe with me. I felt every emotion as I read the book. - Sydney LeBlanc
In the sixth week of basic
training, two of us were sent over to the headquarters building. The captain
wanted to let us know that we had been selected for overseas duty. This was
great news. I had applied for France,
and I was so excited. The captain called me in and said.
your orders to go overseas.”
“France?” I asked.
“No, you are going to Germany.” The
The military would try to accommodate your request, but their
requirements came first. A little
disappointed that I would not be going to France,
I still looked forward to going to Europe.
With basic training done, six young men
headed back home on the train. Someplace in Texas, the train stopped so that we could
stretch our legs and get a snack. The six of us got off the train and went into
the restaurant to get something to eat. We were all dressed in our nice, new
blue uniforms, proudly representing the United States Air Force. I walked into
the restaurant with all my buddies, and before we could sit down, the waiter
looked at me and the other black serviceman and said.
“We can’t serve you
in here. You have to go out back to order and pick up your food.”
Born and raised in the
South, I had experienced discrimination before, but this time it hurt me deeply
because I was dressed in my US Air Force uniform and was prepared to die for
our country, and yet my fellow countryman still would not serve us.
This was the United
States in 1962. No one should ever have to
experience that kind of treatment! The both us just got back on the train
without eating and sat in silence. We began basic training as six buddies from Detroit and returned as
four white serviceman and two black servicemen.