Recognition Sought for WWII Black Veterans - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/20/04 - Longview

Recognition Sought for WWII Black Veterans

  An East Texas World War Two veteran says blacks should be recognized for their role in fighting for this country. 85 year old Honley Witcher of Oak Hill is a rare, vanishing element in America... a surviving African American veteran of World War Two.

  "They said go fight for your country, so that's what I owned up for" says Witcher. At 23, he joined the army and served from 1942-to-44 as a member of the Army's 93rd engineering corps. He was stationed in the Cook Islands in the pacific, an area heavily patrolled by Japanese forces.  Witcher, like any soldier, was afraid he might not make it home.

   "I was worried all the time, I didn't think I was going to make it home" Witcher says. When he came home, it was to a world that had not changed its attitudes, experiencing familiar racism when he came home to East Texas.

   "They treated me nice over there and when I get home it was the same thing, racism," the veteran says.

   "A person goes and give their life, and not get the right treatment when they get back is kind of sad" said his wife of 58 years Geraldine Witcher. 

  When Honley got home, he got back to farming his East Texas land, and marrying his hometown sweetheart.  Over the years he says he's seen positive changes, perhaps because we've all been through so much together, particularly now. He's never been bitter or remorseful, always with a kind word for people, he just wants history to remember that he did his job in world war two like everyone else.

Bob Hallmark reporting.

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