I was born an American and shall die an American. I've visited 40+ countries, and this remains home. Why, because of our democracy. Visited Africa once, but it's where my ancestors were from. Everyone in America with the exception of Native Americans are from somewhere else.
When a hardship falls upon my community we are one Sumter, and we deal with it. We help each other; we care about one another.
What happens when we get an all clear? We go back to it's all about me way of thinking. Two of my best friends are my friends not because of the color of their skin but because we care about what's going on with each other.
Can I help? Let's talk about it. America must learn to learn. Respect and be respected. When the Star-Spangled Banner was written, blacks were slaves. When this country received its independence in 1776 we were slaves, so forgive me if it doesn't resonate the same with black America. We've died in every war fought in this country. It's loved no more or less than any other segment of the population. We left our share of markers behind.
This country would not be what it is without the people of color who help make up America. In order for there to be a bright future, we must understand and learn from our past; if not it will surely repeat itself as we are seeing unfolding before us.
MICHAEL JACKSON, U.S. NAVY RETIRED