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Sidney Alvin Lee - U.S. Army Airborne Ranger

MLKDuring my second year at Southern University, I heard Martin Luther King had organized a march and sit-in at the Woolworth store in Baton Rouge.  I was curious, but the dean of students had spread the word that anyone caught attending would be expelled.  The man I respected most in the world, I kept up with Dr. King’s crusade and watched television coverage of all his marches and demonstrations.  When I learned of the Baton Rouge march, I wanted to go, not to participate but to watch and listen to the speeches.  For me, just being there was important.  I planned to stay in the background, not get close and certainly not get involved.

The following morning, I jumped on a bus and rode into Baton Rouge.  To my young eyes, the demonstration was an amazing spectacle.  Hundreds of brave men and women faced violent retribution from institutional authority and marched unflinchingly for their freedom.  Seeing people of color determined to gain for themselves the rights and freedoms other Americans had handed to them profoundly affected me.  This was determination and perseverance like I’d never seen before and more beautifully and magnificently expressed because it was for the good of the many.  In my mind, their acts were the very definition of selflessness and altruism. 

  • The scene that unfolded in Baton Rouge during the civil rights march reinforced in Sidney a sense of duty and self-sacrifice to a noble cause.  Deeply moved by the experience, later, he took his deeply held altruism half a world away to fight a war in a place few Americans had even heard of.


1. Racism in the Military
2. Tossed into a River
3. Dad's Death
4. MLK
5. Jump school
6. Rosie Marie
7. A lot of action
8. The world turned to shit
9. Attacked from three sides
10. Green tracers
11. The last day
12. PTSD symptoms kick in
13. Too petrified to move
14. No support from Uncle Sam