To the Editor:
In August 1961, in Mobile, Alabama, I was married and my wife, Dorothy, was expecitng our first child. I was working.
I received orders to report for the military draft.
At that time, I wanted to be a civil rights man.
To me, I was a second-class citizen in America. So I told my parents that was not going (to report).
They quietly listened and told me to tell my granddaddy Israel Sr., who had taught me West African culture, since I was a direct descendent of the (slave) ship Clotilda, which arrived in 1860.
I called master Israel and we talked. After the talk, I was surprised.
My teacher wanted to know which country I was born in. I told him, “America.”
He replied, “Oh! You are an American citizen under the Constitution.”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “You and the U.S. government don’t set horses.”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
He said, “Fix it.”
“But I can’t fix all that,” I said.
“Fix your part, and you are going,” he said.
I went. End of story. I became a professional soldier by being in the infantry — a forward observer and a military police platoon sergeant and served in Saigon, South Vietnam.
My whole family was proud and so was I.
If things are not working, fix them. Kindly consider life an education. God, country, duty and fix it!
Israel K. Lewis III