This is not a movie. That was the very first thought that came to mind when I saw the military tanks at the corner of
Whittaker Parkway and Russell Street in Orangeburg, SC. My
second though was…are they loaded? Of course I knew they were. The armed soldiers
posted all around gave the second thought little doubt.
It has been forty-five years since this happened, but it seems like yesterday. The pain of what happened that day hasn’t gone away and it probably never will. It was the first time death touched anywhere close to me. The walking path that he took is the same path we walked daily. At eleven years old I was too young to know what to feel at that time. Now I am too old to be mad at it. It is true that what does not kill you makes you stronger. It forces you to grow.
The only way to recover from mental-pain is to realize that there is nothing anyone can do to change a wrong and make it go back to the way it was before. I also learned that holding on to hate (no matter how it is formed in the mind) causes a sickness that leads to death. Each moment you harbor hate takes time away that can never be replaced. If hatred is held in too long it multiplies to a point where it spills out into action.
My friend, neighbor and sports role-model is in a place now of eternal joy. February eighth is a day of honor for him, Delano Herman (Bump) Middleton. Two others Samuel Hammond Jr. and Henry Ezekial Smith along with many others who were injured will also be honored on the campus of South Carolina State College. After attending two of honor services I have had to stay away and pray for the dark hate filled thoughts to pass. We all deal with hurt differently. The full story may never be told but I have released the hatred I had held in for so long towards those hidden and undiscovered foes. The last few years there is no darkness. I only pray now for a positive outcome for all. I do plan someday to return to the service for what is called the Orangebug Massacre…just not this year.
As the old ladies in church often say,
“Let go and Let God…”
And, for comfort I will hold on to the word of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5