Food For Thought
Food for thought:
In 1961, a young African-American man, inspired after hearing President John F.
Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you
can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in
Virginia, and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines,
volunteered, again, to become a Navy hospital corpsman. (Corpsmen are the
"doctors in the field to Marines" and provide medical assistance to all Navy
This man did so well in Corps School he graduated valedictorian and became a
cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's
premier medical facility in the world, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of
the Commander-in-Chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B.
Johnson during and after his 1966 surgery.
For his service on the President's health care team, which he left in 1967, the
White House awarded this man three letters of commendation.
What may seem to some even more remarkable is that this man voluntarily entered
the Marines and Navy very shortly after the two branches became integrated, and
serviced during a time of a growing war in Vietnam with no thought to his
(PLEASE NOTE: During the same period that this young man was serving six years
on active duty with the Marines and Navy during the Vietnam War, Vice President
Dick Cheney -- who was born the same year as the Marine/Navy Corpsman, received
five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one
for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both
five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student
deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty
military service, or service in Vietnam, through family and political
Who is the real patriot; who is this young African-American youth so devoted to
his country? Who is this young Black man who interrupted his studies to serve his nation for six years while
the other three political leaders "beat the system" to stay out of harms way and
from serving in the active military? Are patriots the people who actually
sacrifice something of value, or are they those who merely talk about serving
their nation and their love of the country?
After leaving military service to his country, the young African-American
finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a
minister, and eventually became pastor of a small church in one of America's
biggest cities, Chicago, growing that ministry from a mere 87 persons to a
congregation of many thousands of persons active for Christ and the poor
This African-American man is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired
pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, and
Obama's former spiritual advisor, who brought Obama to Christ and eventually
baptized Barack Obama, married Obama and Michelle, and baptized their two daughters.
This man has been much maligned recently with snippets, tiny portions of video
taken out of entire sermons, from an entire career of devotion to Christ and the
poor of this nation. Before passing judgement on Rev. Wright, or on Barack Obama
for being a member of Rev. Wright's congregation, it would be wise for those
unfamiliar with "liberation theology" and who question Rev. Wright's patriotism
and spirituality to listen to the recent interview on Bill Moyer's JOURNAL on
PBS of April 25, 2008 at the following links:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part I:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part II:
Please forward to others who criticize Rev. Wright, and to others who may have
questions about the Rev. Wright, his relationship with Christ and Barack Obama,
and his patriotism to the United States of America. Thank you.
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article