Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Being Drafted with Billy Willis and Church Diversity Part 2

I only told that first story because I want to tell this story. I was 19 and I was working for the Postal Service. I think it was still being called the Post Office back then. In March, I was drafted into the US Army. As patriotic as I was, I figured by working in the Post Office they would leave me there and draft one of my friends. They were never as patriotic as me.

Any way, I got on the bus in LA with 35 other guys from the LA area and we were driven up to Ft. Ord. Lo and behold, guess who turned out to be my bunk mate? I mean, guess who turned out to be the guy who slept on the top bunk of my bunk bed? Billy Willis. My friend from San Fernando Junior High. By the way, did I mention that Billy Willis was black? I know, it did not have anything to do with that other story. But he was. We had a good mix in junior high school. I always tell people we had quite a racial mix at San Fernando Junior High School. It was half white, half mexican and half black.

Billy Willis and I renewed our friendship in basic training. He went to San Fernando High School, which was half mexican and half black. I went to Sylmar High School. We got along very well during our time at Ft. Ord.

This is where this story is about diversity. We laughed all the way through our diversity classes. There was no problem with racial relations in basic training. I am pretty sure Billy Willis did not make this saying up. He was a witty guy and had a great sense of humor. But I believe he did not originate this saying. But it was the first time I ever heard it, so I give him credit. "There is no difference in color in the Army. We are all green in the Army. Some of us are just a little darker green than the rest of you".

The awareness that they tried to convey in the classes was something Billy Willis and I had lived with for years. Seriously, I am sure that it was and is a problem for others. I just never saw the problem because I lived it. It seems the only people who have problems with diversity, in a out of the church today, are those who are not living it.

I later went to Viet Nam. Billy Willis went to Germany. We never saw each other again. I hope he continued to keep his sense of humor and served his country well. I am sure Mr. Asbury had forgotten about that part of the day Billy Willis laughed at the girls who were crying. I am sure he remembers other parts of it. I only remember it because some parts of certain days, you just never forget.

I finished the book, Church Diversity by Scott Williams over the week end. I am sure he, or you, will not care what my response is to the book. But I share my thoughts. And I will, soon.

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