Tuesday, July 26, 2011

George Reed: A Father's Fight For Right After Korea Flight

On November 28th, 1951 George Reed welcomed home his son Thomas to sunny Phoenix Arizona.

I imagine there were tears in his eyes on that wednesday morning, as he proudly held his head up high. Those tears he shed could not have been the same tears shed when his son left home.

George could not get the hands on support of his other two sons. You see, they were off fighting a war in Korea and could not be home to see the arrival of their brother. Their brother, 19 year old Thomas had been in Korea also, fighting for his country.

Thomas Reed was a Phoenician who came home from the war accompanied by a military escort and a flag draped across his casket.

On June 5th 1951 Thomas was mortally wounded in Korea

It would be at least five weeks before George Reed saw his son rightfully buried.

George Reed wanted to have his son buried in Greenwood Cemetery but they had a policy that negro veterans had to have special requests from three sources to be buried in their military section. Those three sources was
The American Legion, The Disabled American Veterans and The Veterans of Foreign Wars. (click on images to enlarge)

A citizens group that was set up of members of the NAACP and The Urban league along with representatives had been fighting this custom for quite sometime.

Un-american nonsense they called it, and felt that any veteran, no matter what color or creed be buried in the cemetery if the next of kin requested it.

After fighting so hard and not getting anywhere, the Council had to go to the local papers to see what the community thought about this travesty.

There was such an outcry from the public.

George was proud of his son but he wanted not only this son that he lost so early in life to be buried with the other veterans and God forbid, if he lost another one of his sons to die fighting for this country he would want the same thing for them too.

George Reed wanted to have his son buried with other veterans. Not in the Veteran's cemetery in Washington but in Greenwood Cemetery where others of his sons peers were buried.

Mr Reed turned down the offer to have his son buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington was such a long way away for this man to comprehend. At least now his son was home and any day of the week, hour of the day he could head over to Greenwood in quiet solitude and visit the son whom he loved dearly.

Chicago Defender Jan 19,1952
submitted by Thomasena Grigsby