Monday, August 04, 2008
5778: The Price Of Apologies.
From The Chicago Sun-Times…
Long-overdue apologies nice, but add substance to words
Sometimes saying “sorry” doesn’t cut it. Take two recent public apologies: The U.S. House of Representatives apologized to African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow, and an Army officer publicly apologized to 28 black World War II GIs who had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the death of an Italian prisoner of war.
Paying reparations to descendants of slaves might give weight to that first apology, but that’s hardly practical.
What would be practical is to redouble efforts to improve the lives and opportunities of African Americans by investing more in our inner city schools, the safety of neighborhoods and job training.
Less complicated is the matter of compensation for Roy Montgomery, an 87-year-old ex-GI living in Park Forest, and the only known survivor of the 28 wrongfully convicted.
Last year, an Army review board cleared all 28 soldiers. And soon after that, one of the men, Samuel Snow, applied for compensation and received a check for $725 -- back pay for his military service.
Talk about adding insult to injury. The Army didn't even adjust for interest or inflation, which would have made it $80,000.
Snow refused to cash the check, and waited for a more official apology. That came last Saturday, the day after he died.
The Army still owes a debt to the last survivor, Montgomery, a debt it can never pay in full.
But they might start with a check -- and not for a measly $725.