Why We Fight

I wanted to be a Marine since I saw that Iwo Jima picture. I joined on my eighteenth birthday, June 14th 1949.

President Truman had integrated the armed forces the year before. During boot camp they treated us Negroes the same as the white boys, which is to say like shit.

I was part of the First Marine Division, third battalion of the Fifth Marines. We invaded Inchon in September of 1950. We had almost three years of hard fighting against the North Koreans, the Chinese, the winter, the country. Just about everything but each other.

We didn’t see no skin color in combat. A Marine was a Marine. Our blood was equally red when we died for each other.

Back home in 1953, I got caught up in the Trumbull Heights  race riots. These angry white faces screaming the worst kind of curses, throwing bottles and rocks.

I still don’t get it.


What Pegman Saw


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    • J Hardy Carroll

      This morning my friend Al told me a story about getting back from Vietnam and getting caught up in the race riots in Gary. “Over there I was sharing a canteen with them hillbillies, but back home here we was fighting. Didn’t make no sense then, doesn’t make no sense now.”
      Made me think of this prompt. The wars are different, but the situation is the same.
      Glad you like the story! ;-)

  1. pennygadd51

    It’s only too plain why it happens. Humans evolved to be wary of difference. It was a survival trait. Now that we live in bigger and more complex societies, that natural human trait has been exploited by those who want power. There is no difference between fighting and killing someone of a different country, and fighting and killing someone of a different skin colour. And they’re both wrong. Always.

Don't just stand there.