BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – It’s a celebration of the changing times.
“But my dad, I’m so proud of him because he always says a bullet knows no race, no gender, rich or poor or rank,” said Paulette Woods, SGT. US ARMY (RET) said. “We were all brothers on the battlefield.”
The Buffalo and Erie County Military & Naval Park hosted a documentary unveiling Tuesday night at Shea’s Smith Theater. The event was designed to honor, educate, inspire, and preserve the stories of African American service members who fought to defend freedom, even when things didn’t always make sense.
“Well it was confusing,” said Paul Woods, SSG, US ARMY (RET.) & WWII Veteran. “I went through a segregated army.”
Paul turns 100 in a few weeks and has said when it comes to his time abroad and the injustices he faces, he will never stop sharing.
“We couldn’t eat in the same dining room, but we went through the same door,” Paul said. “And the right was for the whites and the left for the blacks.”
It is the story of two wars.
“The things they had to contend with in order to serve our country and be treated as second-class citizens when they came back,” said Paul Marzello, president and CEO of the Buffalo and Erie County Military & Naval Park.
That struggle is what the Naval Park hopes to portray in its first original documentary, Two War: The Road to Integration.
“Part of our mission is to honor and preserve these stories,” said Steven Tedesco, writer and director of Two War: The Road to Integration. “To be able to do this in a different way than just coming into the Naval Park is really special.”
The 30-minute film explores the issue of segregation and the later integration of the US military through the lenses of historians, American historians and families like the Woods.
“So we’re a military family and we’re following the lead of the greatest generations,” Paulette said.
“We are the greatest generation,” Paul replied.
Through the documentary, all the struggles and all the victories of the “greatest generation” will be shared forever.
“It’s better for me now because I can understand it,” Paul said.
“To insert a movie so you can see that a significant number of the troops on the front lines look like my father, you and me,” Paulette said. It’s a story that needs to be told.”
You can watch the documentary here and learn more about Buffalo Naval Park on its website.
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