Most Americans are too young to recall those fateful days when a President and the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division made the law of the land a reality for all of its citizens, a 1954 Supreme Court decision declaring that “separate but equal schools” was unconstitutional.
When federal troops formed a ring around nine African-American students and marched them into Little Rock’s Central High School, guarding them and providing for their safety.
One of those escorted students, Jefferson Thomas, died Sunday, September 5, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio.
Hard to imagine what America was like on October 3, 1957, with the need for soldiers to clear the way in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
As one friend of Mr. Thomas said, with whom he often played basketball on a neighborhood court, “You’re okay to play basketball with, but you’re not smart enough to sit in the same classroom with me.”
Blessings to Jefferson Thomas’ family and friends as they grieve his passing. He lived a positive life, contributing to the well-being of his nation. Let us give thanks for men and women like him, and millions more, of all races and creeds, who carry on, just wanting a chance at life.
We are a great nation, and greater still when every citizen is given opportunity.
That fateful day in Little Rock, we learned something about freedom, and we learn still, for the road to freedom never quite ends, and at every twist and turn of time, we learn again the great lessons of our Constitution and what it means to be a real American.