During this 4th of July 2014 weekend celebrations, take a few minutes to remember our Veterans. In doing so, however, we must also take a few moments to reflect on those in our own families who were in the military. What were their lives like. What experiences did they have; good or, bad?
If possible, find a tape recorder or a pen and paper and ask questions to a Veteran who may be attending your celebrations. Don't be surprised, however, if they are shocked that someone is interested in they military adventures. Imagine a Grandfather or, even a Great Grandfather talking for the first time of their time serving this great Nation of ours. Hopefully, some may even have a few photographs to share.
When dealing with African American Veterans, especially in regards to our Wars prior to 1975, experiences were more negative then positive. Segregation, abuse, hatred were often experienced by Black military personnel during their time in service. Can you imagine serving your country, putting your life on the line, when you yourself did not have the open opportunity to enjoy all the freedoms that your country had to offer? It happened.
One of the wars where African Americans served in segregated units was during the Spanish American War. Ca.1898. Many of the Blacks who volunteered to serve who lived in North Carolina, as in many other states as well, joined to show their community and National officials that they can serve with honor, dedication and commitment. To show African Americans had the right, as of the White population, to have all freedoms that come to a freed man.
Below is an image of a post card given to me by a friend of mine. Annie Fay knows of my work in preserving old all African American endangered cemeteries and finding "Forgotten " military Veterans.
If your Ancestor was a soldier in the 9th Cavalry in 1898 and served at Camp W. Koff, he may be in this photograph card.