When I started the LB project, I was mostly fulfilling a lifelong interest in WWII history. What I did not consider at the time was the endless persons I would encounter who have displayed a type of kindness that is hard to quantify or imagine. Today I want to recognize 3 women whose lives embody a selflessness I can only aspire to.
The first is 100 year old Elizabeth Baker Johnson, veteran of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion who passed away on Sunday 23 August. In the words of her daughter Cynthia Scott, “Mom touched more people than we know. She was such a humble person, always saying “I don’t know why anyone is making such a fuss over me”. She was truly a remarkable woman”.
We are born with whatever internal qualities are stamped into our DNA, but we are forged by our surroundings. I cannot imagine the world Mrs. Johnson was born into 100 years ago – the racism she was subject to, the barriers she overcame as both an African American and a woman, and the courage and determination to volunteer her services to defend the freedom of all people, including the white ones denying hers, for every day of her 100 years. No, I can not imagine or quantify that kind of stoicism.
The second person is Cynthia Scott, Elizabeth’s daughter. Cynthia’s care and devotion in looking after her mother, while being a nucleus of support for her own daughters defines concepts like fidelity, love and sacrifice.
The third woman is someone I have wanted to write about for some time as the US Post Office is currently in the spotlight. Given the 6888th’s mandate it seemed like a good fit here. For 4 years, postal services around the world have moved the Log Book around – almost 100 signings and not a single misstep. There has been the occasional hiccup with persons doing the legwork to and from the post office, but never with the postal service itself.
Cynthia Avant is a Postmaster in Tennessee who assisted me in confirming that the book had in fact been mailed on one such hiccup occasion. Her personal touch in an otherwise (to me) gargantuan faceless organization was for me great relief. She has been a tremendous help and advisor with all things US Post related since. Her kindness and professionalism stems from a genuine care and regard for others.
My life is the richer for knowing these 3 remarkable women.
Mrs. Johnson’s funeral will be on Friday 28 August at 1:00 pm. Her entry in the Log Book represents a tiny reminder of her awesome dignity; a legacy we would do well to fuss over. May God bless you Mrs. Johnson, you are remembered always.