The Other War by Arlin Buyert

I got my Navy wings in January 1968
when two wars were going on:
Viet Nam and Mississippi.

I had orders to fly F-4s over the jungle
but overnight they changed to Training Squadron Seven
at NAS Meridian.  On my way through Mississippi
I drove through Philadelphia and wondered
about the black and white blood
spilled on the dam’s red clay.

My first week in town the synagogue burned
and I saw “White Only”  at Weidmann’s Restaurant.
A month later Ensign Harding (with his white wife)
reported for pilot training holding a BS in Aeronautical Engineering
from Stanford.  No one would teach him

so the Commanding Officer calls a meeting in the Ready Room.
“Damn it men, I know this is unusual but someone has to take him.
He wants to serve our county, his country, so do I see a hand?”
He did not.

The next day, a fellow flight instructor greets me in the hall:
“So just when did you become a fucking nigger lover?”

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