To The Daily Sun,

Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Landed on the moon and on July 20,1969 these words were spoken: “That's one small step for man,one great leap for mankind”. My reflections on that day are ones of emotion and and distrust of leadership. I will explain:

After participating in 24 combat operations in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines I was stationed at Camp Lejeune. A mist of tension hung over the camp in 1969. It could be seen everywhere on the base.

It was no secret that there was an element on base that exhibited defiance. Lack of discipline became rampant. Cutting in line at the chow hall, refusing to fall out for formation in the morning,or plain looking unkempt. One officer was attacked when he advised a Marine to blouse his boots, to button his shirt and tuck it in. It was evident that there was an organized attempt at intimidation.

As the gangs continued to move freely throughout the camp their antics became more racial and angry. Black Berets became common among their group. The raised fist in defiance was seen everywhere. It was evident that something was brewing, but leadership kept silent.

On the night of July 20, as I was walking back to my barracks it appeared that all hell had come to the camp. Those who've been practicing intimidation opened the next chapter, RIOT.! Being somewhat innocent of the inner workings of a riot, I causally walked through the organized mayhem and recognized a couple from my unit. I heard one state he had, “smashed him real good with a brick”.

The Marine who was beat with a brick was twice wounded in Vietnam. He and his wife were expecting their first child. He died seven days later.

As the riot continued it appeared the leadership was asleep. A friend and I watched the mob rampantly go about destroying and looking for others to beat up. They approached a lone Marine, we saw a glimmer of metal in the moonlight. We broke a chair and went screaming and swinging the chair leg. The mob ran off. Cowards. When we got to the attacked Marine, we found he was a friend from our unit. He was stabbed multiple times. Still no sign of the MPs. Political correction had come to the Marines. I should have recognized PC earlier. I worked hard to become a sergeant and was dismayed to see there were others that did not have to work as hard.

A few days later two friends approached me. One black, one white. The black Marine shared this experience with me:“ We were going home when our car broke down. As we were working on the engine, some station wagons pulled up behind us, they carried shot guns and wore white hoods (KKK).

In the lead car was their spokesman, he pointed to me (the black Marine) and said, “get in the car” My friend immediately jumped in front of me and said, “No way, get lost,”. The hooded men looked at each other and spoke some words and left. I believe my friend saved my life,” said the black Marine.

A large bulletin board just before Raleigh, N.C.stood on the side of the road during these days. It depicted men wearing white robes with the caption below that said, “Home of the Ku Klux Klan”.

Manning Johnson labored in the communist cause for 10 years. He held many positions. He wrote “COLOR, COMMUNISM and Common Sense.” On page seven he writes,“ after two years of practical training in organizing street demonstrations, inciting mob violence, how to fight the police and how to politically 'throw a brick and hide' I was ready, in the opinion of my leaders, for a top communist school.,At a secret national training school in New York City, I was given an extensive and intensive course in the theory and practice of red political warfare.”

Mr. Johnson coincidentally met with a tragic accident before he could shed more light on the procedures used to create discord. He summed it up nicely in his booklet on page 53: “The media of public information is far from free of communists and fellow travelers who operate under the guise of liberalism. They are ready at all times to do an effective smear job. ...they go overboard in giving top news coverage to racial incidents, fomented by the leftist, and also those incidents that are interpreted so as to show biased attitudes of whites against Negroes....this is a propaganda hoax aimed, not at helping the Negro, but at casting America in a bad light.”

Following the incident at Camp Lejeune, Life magazine did a story of the murder and riots. Sure enough the magazine was filled with bias and misconceptions by those who were not there. I was there and still have the letter they sent me when I wrote them that they left so much out of their story, which changed the entire narrative. The media still works that way today.

Gene F. Danforth


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(1) comment


Your letters to the editor tell us so much about you. Your words such as, "defiance" (how dare a black man be "defiant"), and, "gangs," show where you are coming from. Your examples of two black men; the story of the black man being saved by the white man (certainly no racist trope there) and Manning Johnson (who willingly testified before HUAC and McCarthy's subcommittee--some of the darkest days of the American 20th century) show us who qualifies in your mind as, "good negroes." (Your letters also show us that you are still looking for commies under every rock. Which, seriously, is quite amusing in this day and age.) All I can say is, with you, at 73 now, the insecurities and dog whistle racism of your generation is, at least, tempered by our hope in the actuarial table.

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