The Journey of Reconciliation was organized not only to devise techniques for eliminating Jim Crow in travel, but also as a training ground for similar peaceful projects against discrimination in such major areas as employment and in the armed services.
I've always had a lot of time for servicemen. Yet there's been this bad relationship between civilians and the armed services. We say to soldiers, 'We want you when we want you, but stay away in peacetime. We're proud of you, but keep away from my daughter and don't come drinking in my pub.'
From my childhood, obedience was something I could not get out of my system. When I entered the armed service at the age of twenty-seven, I found being obedient not a bit more difficult than it had been during my life to that point. It was unthinkable that I would not follow orders.
I might have arguments with the size of Reagan's military buildup, but given the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, staying ahead of the Soviets militarily seemed a sensible thing to do. Pride in our country, respect for our armed services, a healthy appreciation for the dangers beyond our borders, an insistence that there was no easy equivalence between East and West--in all this I had no quarrel with Reagan. And when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, I had to give the old man his due, even if I never gave him my vote.
When I was a child in the Navy during World War II, I was perennially grateful to the armed services libraries for having on hand a good supply of those pocket books, which were so common in that period. I must have read a couple hundred of them, and they did a lot to save my sanity.
The American servicemen and women of the Guard and Reserve leave their jobs, their spouses and their children to wear the uniform that defends our country. This selfless commitment should be honored by businesses across Massachusetts as we work to ensure they are treated fairly while they balance their employment responsibilities and obligations to the armed services. No business should ever put the bottom line ahead of America's front line.