We’ve Come A Long Way And Still Have Further to Go

Please Return Patrick's Flag

I’ve been lucky. I’ve enjoyed a career as a journalist for more than 50 years and I’m still writing about the things I think are important in CMC Digest (www.cmcdigest.com).

As I look back certain things stand out in my mind and, more than anything else, I think about how far we’ve come as a country and how much further we still have to go.

It always makes me feel good when I see old enemies look past their history and find that they have more in common than not. I wrote about that in an article titled, “A Magical Moment For Two Vietnam Veterans From Opposing Sides.”

In 1963, during the midst of the civil rights riots in America, my wife and I were in Japan and staying at a small hotel. I walked into the bar there at about 6 o’clock one evening and sat down next to a tall man who offered to buy me a drink. It turned out he was one of the Queen’s Couriers, a small group of former British non-commissioned officers who carried diplomatic messages around the world.

His first question was “How are you handling that business with your natives over there?” It took me a moment to realize he was talking about black people in America.

I found myself asking him how he would feel if his family was brought to America as slaves more than 300 years ago and after being freed 150 years ago he was still considered a second-class citizen or worse in his own country. He didn’t have an answer.

My wife, Carole, and I spent about eight months in Japan living in a small town about 45 minutes from Tokyo during which my wife was pregnant. We were the only foreigners, or “gaijin,” living there and our neighbors could not have been more friendly or helpful. It was during that time that President Kennedy was assassinated and everywhere we went people came up to us — assuming we were Americans — to express their condolences.

In a career that has literally taken me all over the world, I found that old animosities are dying — and some were being reborn. You might have noticed that during the two years in which Donald Trump has been president of the United States.

Nevertheless, we are learning the lessons of the past and we’re getting along — but we’ve still got a long way to go.

Beau Weisman, Editor