This weekend, on June !4th, we will celebrate Flag Day. If you, like me, have no idea what happens on this day, Wikipedia says, "the president will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. " Flag Day, this year, comes on the heels of a heated exchange between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood about the representation (or lackthereof) of Black soldiers in Eastwood’s two historical dramas, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. For a quick recap, Spike Lee started it with comments about the invisible soldiers at Cannes Film Festival, "Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total and there was not one Negro actor on the screen." Eastwood defended his choice by arguing that the World War II film was specifically about the (now iconic picture of) men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima none of whom were Black. The two well known Hollywood directors reduced their argument to name calling and the most important point was lost on Mr. Eastwood. Lee goes on to say in an interview with Guardian:
I’m not making this up. I know history. I’m a student of history. And I know the history of Hollywood and its omission of the one million African-American men and women who contributed to the second world war. Not everything was John Wayne, baby."
We have been talking a lot about Obama and Clinton participating in an historic moment,. But, these Black soldiers who fought in WWII were also part of an important moment, and their stories are being lost everyday. We have to fight to preserve this history accurately, so why don’t we celebrate Flag Day and Father’s Day, this weekend, making sure our fathers’ tales aren’t forgotten. Whether a veteran or not, he probably has a story that you would want to remember. Come back here and tell us the story.