Dr. Kings’ death in 1968

Everyone remembers what they were doing when some catastrophic event took place. I was in Basic training at Fort Bragg, the home of the 82nd Airborne Division. Back in those days, fake news came in the form of rumors. The military has a way of mixing folks that back in those days would not usually mix. So we had northern blacks mixed with southern whites. Needless to say, it was an undertone of tension that was strong in our ranks. My best friend and I joined the military was an Italian guy I worked with; both our dads wanted us to move on, so we decided to join the Army on the buddy plan.

Blacks and Whites ready for conflict

The only thing that kept the white recruits and the black recruits from going to blows was more fear of the drill instructors. Our training was gearing up, and things got to be routine as much as it could be, getting up at 4:30 in the morning awakened by banging on trash cans and expletives. One day there was a rumor that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. What we heard had to be a terrible joke. What’s going on, Kennedy and now King? One of the jobs we recruits had, was walking guard duty around the finance buildings where they paid the soldiers. We could only let our imaginations take over what we heard about this terrible thing that happened. Some of the recruits were happy about the rumor in the news, and others were ready to go to war.

Recruits rushed back to their barracks

We found out the rumor was real because the 82nd Airborne Division jumped in and trucked into positions on the Fort to lock down the Fort. They came in locked and loaded weapons and ran us recruits back to our barracks because of the rioting around the country. Under guard, we only could talk in low tones and under strict supervision. We heard other rumors of rioting and SGT. Williams instructed us that the Army would not tolerate any negative talk about what was going on. Not having the benefit of social media or even the news made us count on or imagination about Dr. King’s death. The Army drilled it into us that we better be one big happy family because our lives depended on it. SGT Williams trained us as if we were all going to Vietnam as soon as we left basic training. He said when you get over there, you better get any hate out of your head for each other and save that hate for the Viet Cong you’re going to need it.

King helped change America

We had to learn that Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings were right out of another disrupters book, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. truly a disciple of Jesus Christ. They both changed the world…

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