Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Some thoughts about the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. He was born in 1929, making him four years my elder.  That places me at an age that recalls the magnificent crusade led by King to end government sponsored racial segregation and its evils, and a tiny bit of personal experience.

In 1951 when I was a one-stripe eighteen-year-old airman stationed at Williams AFB in Arizona (I played in the base band), my two best buddies were a Filipino trumpet player and a black guy who played French horn (“peck horn”). We tried to enter a café together in uniform in nearby Chandler. “Get out,” shouted the proprietor, “We don’t serve niggers and don’t serve nigger lovers.” So much for lunch. And Arizona was a so-called “non-segregated” state.

When King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, I had advanced to age 22, and was two years out of Air Force flying school flying the F94C. Martin Luther King’s actions in Montgomery inspired me to join the NAACP (not radical like today) when I was stationed at Langley AFB in the southern city of Hampton, Virginia.

In 1962, I was a captain attending radar controller school at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, and living off base. The course was tough, so some of us organized an evening study group that included a fellow student who happened to be a negro captain (“negro” was the respectful term then – not “black” or “Afro-American”). The only way we could get the captain to and from our home with safely, and without getting arrested, was to keep him out of sight in the back seat of our car. Amazing.

I myself almost got arrested one Sunday morning after church in Gulfport. Mississippi when I sat on a bus bench labeled “colored” (I didn’t see the sign). When the bus came, the bus driver told me I would have to move to the “white” bench before he would pick me up. I told him snarkily that I was ON the white bench (it being painted white).  At this point, he threatened to call the cops. I left. He left. And I found another way back to Biloxi. 

In1963, the year of Kings iconic “I have a Dream” oratory from the Lincoln Memorial in DC I was 30. I listened to him live on the radio. It’s the most magnificent speech I’ve ever heard. Period.  

When King was assassinated In 1968 in Memphis, I was thirty-five years old and attending the Air University Education with Industry Program at the Boeing Company in Seattle. We were devastated.

Martin Luther King was an imperfect man (as are we all) who did marvelous things for the soul of our nation. We’ve come a long, long ways. But where are the great leaders for equality and fairness today? With some of the stuff that’s going on, Martin Luther King must be turning over in his grave. 


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