George Floyd: A peaceful protest

We seemed to have enough energy to power a small city as we marched from downtown St. Petersburg through a half-dozen neighborhoods. I’d say most of the hundreds of people in the crowd ranged in age from late teens to mid-30s. I was an outlier. Many of us wore face masks and some people held … Continue reading George Floyd: A peaceful protest

Boondoggle Florida canal destroyed African-American Community

About six miles south of Ocala, in a wide jungle of a median of the divided U.S. 441, you will find symbols of Florida's greed and racism hidden in the trees: Four bridge stanchions built in 1935 for the never-completed boondoggle known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal.

J.C. Alston: A boy at Pearl Harbor

A little before 4 a.m. on December 7, 1941, J.C. Alston was wakened by a fellow sailor as he slept in a bunk on the USS California, the lead ship moored to docks adjacent to Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor. It was Alston’s turn to take up watch on the port side … Continue reading J.C. Alston: A boy at Pearl Harbor

Richard Cunningham and December 7, 1941

Shortly after sunrise, Seaman 1st Class Richard Cunningham and two other sailors, Earl Kuhn and Bill Morris, boarded a wooden boat tethered to their battleship, the USS West Virginia. They got underway at 7:50 a.m. and motored across the placid water. Theirs was a most routine assignment that morning: cross the harbor to a dock … Continue reading Richard Cunningham and December 7, 1941

Holocaust camp liberator: Melvin Waters

Melvin Waters is legally blind, a result of suffering from macular degeneration. But he can still see and smell that time in late April 1945 when he came upon the Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp in northwest Germany. Historians say about 70,000 Jews, Russians, and other prisoners died at Bergen-Belsen during World War II. Among those who … Continue reading Holocaust camp liberator: Melvin Waters

Richard Overton: Texas’ oldest World War II veteran

Richard Overton was born May 11, 1906. That makes him 107. While notable itself, what is most interesting is Overton is the oldest World War II in Texas. That's according to Allen Bergeron, City of Austin veterans consultant, who says Overton also may be the oldest WWII veteran living in the country. (The Department of … Continue reading Richard Overton: Texas’ oldest World War II veteran

D Day on a PT boat

On June 6, 1944, Clyde Combs was aboard PT 515 looking upon history's largest amphibious landing before dawn. All he could hear was the constant drone of U.S. and Allied bombers flying above, thunderous shelling from nearby battleships. About one-third of a mile away, soldiers waded to shore. Combs was a nineteen-year-old quartermaster on the … Continue reading D Day on a PT boat

Visiting a WWII stalag in a small Texas town

Heino Erichsen was born June 7, 1924 in Kiel, Germany, a Baltic Sea port. When he was nine years old, Adolph Hitler became Germany's chancellor and led the country into its irrational and destructive decade that led to perhaps the world's largest and most gruesome war and ethnic persecution. When he was growing up, Heino … Continue reading Visiting a WWII stalag in a small Texas town

Crystal City internment camp

During World War II not all the internment camps established by the federal government were in California. Several of them were created in Texas, with the largest one in Crystal City built on the grounds of an old migrant farm worker camp. Other than some historical markers and informational signs, you would be hard-pressed to find … Continue reading Crystal City internment camp