i was four years old.
maxwell is adjacent to montgomery, alabama.
i can recall my mother admonishing me sternly to Not go Near the bus stops.
i believe young children were allowed a much wider range in 1955 than in 2007.
that OR my parents were insane.
i was allowed to wander anywhere within three or four blocks from home.
we don't let our eight year-old out of our (or our substitutes') sight.
of course back then children roamed in vast herds of booming babies across the prairies and over the mountains, from sea to shining sea. sorta.
now our son is one of maybe eight kids in our neighborhood.
well, our parents had four and five kids.
we have one.
anyway, i was a bad boy.
as soon as i got a chance, i went to see what was going on at the bus stop!
for a while i watched from a distance, just in case.
but since the coast was clear, i walked over to see what would happen.
nobody was around.
what was the deal?
then an empty bus stopped.
and opened its doors.
we are blessed that my mother hadn't said to Not get On a bus!
heck, i didn't even know How to climb the few stairs To get on a bus.
i had never been on a bus and this was more of a bus than i had seen before
and after seeing my uncomprehending blank stare
the driver drove away.
so i supported the boycott.
my brush with history.
then, in 1957, the bigots began bombing black churches.
we were transfered to randolf AFB outside of san antonio.
just as Martin Luther King rose to prominence.
dad later told me how he had stormed out of a PTA meeting
(older brother and sister were in middle school in montgomery) when it became clear
that it was a segregated organization dominated by segregationists
plotting strategies for maintaining school segregation against the federal authorities.
he received recognition from the chair, took the floor and said,
"I took a solemn oath as a commissioned Air Force officer
to Defend the Constitution of the United States of America against
All Enemies, foreign And domestic. You are enemies of the Constitution Domestic! And
I will have no more to do with you!"
WE Shall Overcome.
The wordings of the current oath of enlistment and oath for commissioned officers are as follows:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)"defend the Constitution of the United States" comes meaningfully before "obey the orders of the President".