Montford Point Marines: Semper Fi


alcorn-founders-day-2013.jpg“A man has no control of where he is born, or to whom he is born, or the color of his skin.
He may have no control in how or where he dies.
But he has complete control of the life lived during that time in the middle:  between when he, or she is born and when he, or she dies.
This is the time we are given to discover what matters most, and to live one’s life accordingly.”
The opening remarks of Dr. Ozell Sutton, spoken slowly in  distinctive deep baritone, set the tone for a stirring, heartfelt, and remarkable acceptance speech given as the 2103 recipient of the Hiram R. Revels Achievement Award, at the celebration of Founders Day 2013, Alcorn State University.
The Revels Award is the highest award granted by the University to an individual whose life exhibits tenacity, fortitude, and excellence.  One of the original Montford Point Marines, and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Dr. Sutton discovered at an early age what mattered most, evidenced by the decisions he has made and actions he has taken throughout his life as a journalist, a civil rights pioneer, and a distinguished career at the US Department of Justice.
Ms, Carla Williams, Ms. Dwantra Anderson and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Sutton after the ceremony. I asked him about Monford Point.  His eyes became misty as he recalled friends and places;  Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Bougainville; distant in time, but forever a part of his legacy.  I think it may have been his experience as a US Marine that prevailed upon his very soul the absolute value and importance of equality and justice, as well as the importance of pursuing those ideals with passion.
… tenacity … fortitude … excellence …  Dr. Ozell Sutton.  Semper Fidelis
By the way, I will be adding this book to my reading list.  “From Yonder to Here”: A Memoir of Dr. Ozell Sutton.
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