The Adult: Alien in the Delta

The Adult: Alien in the Delta
: Thankful Strother
: 112
: Kids : Non Fiction
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The Adult - Alien in theDelta in the third and last book in the series.During Thankful's four year stay in the Air Forces in Germany, helearned to speak the language and met his future wife. She joins him in Detroit three monthsafter he returns. He was able to obtain a job immediately working at the FordMotor Company with the help of his brother who also worked there. They movedinto an apartment a block away from his brother's house. Those times wereespecially difficult for his new bride because she could not speak English.Thankful would call her from the job on each break just to make sure she was okand to make her field a little safer and not so alone.

Thankful return home to theUnited Statesjust in time to witness the 1967 Detroit Riots. Off in the distance, you couldhear the sound of automatic weapons firing late into the night. It reminded meof Fourth of July firecrackers all going off at the same time. The noise wasdeafening. Silence for a few minutes, and it would start all over again. Eachsubsequent time, it would seem to get louder. That is where the similarity withthe Fourth of July ended.
Detroit was burning, and there weren't enough policemen,firemen, or equipment to put out all of the fires and arrest all of thelooters. We heard the sound of fire trucks and police sirens and someonespeaking on loudspeakers. The smell of smoke from the fires that had been setall over the city left you wondering how long it would be before the worst ofthe riots would reach our side of town.

Things had gotten so out ofcontrol, and the Detroitpolice could not contain the riots. The Michigan National Guard had beenactivated but wasn't able to make a difference. There was some talk of callingup reserve military personnel. When the riots broke out in July of 1967, mygreatest fear was that I would be called up for active military duty as areservist. I was eligible to be called until November 1967, two years from thedate of my discharge from the US Air Force.

The mayor of Detroit asked for helpfrom the federal government. The Eighty-second Airborne Division soldiers weresent to Detroit to stop the rioting; the samegroup of soldiers who had been fighting in Vietnam. It was dangerous, scary,and unbelievable. These soldiers patrolled every street in Detroit.

I had spent four years inthe US Air Force, and during that time I hadn't seen any combat, but back inthe city of Detroit,I was living in a combat zone. As the soldiers walked past our houses, weoffered them something cold to drink. They had been told not to get intodiscussions with the citizens and to keep moving.

The entire city was under acurfew. Everyone was asked to stay put until further notice. You were allowedto go places in the daytime, but you could not travel after dark. Things didn'tcalm down for a solid week. Not before forty-three deaths, eleven hundredinjuries, and over seven thousand arrests had occurred.

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