World War II veteran living by disciplined ideals reflects on social unrest


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Luther Radway, 93, had a successful radiological technology career before retiring and relocating to Palm Bay.

Jennifer H. Monaghan

Self-discipline and seizing the moment have been overarching principles throughout Luther Radway’s life. Today, at 93 years old, he remains steadfast in living that ideology.

Radway, a Harlem, New Yorker, was conscripted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany for 18 months during World War II. He was undaunted by the stringent standards imposed.

 “I did not benefit from their discipline, because I was raised by my grandmother in Jamaica, and she was a true disciplinarian,” Radway said.

“The Army is something that should never be forgotten,” Radway said. “I had the opportunity of being with other young fellows. I was quite green. I knew nothing about the world, but I became a man once inducted. I was expected to think properly, to treat people with respect and to be able to follow orders.”

When his military service ended, Radway returned to New York where he studied radiological technology. He had a successful career in the field until his retirement and relocation to Palm Bay. Fourteen years ago, he lost his wife of 53 years.

In Palm Bay, Radway was, and still is to a lesser degree, active in the community. Terri Nunez, the founder of one of the nonprofit organizations where Radway volunteered, said, “Luther was absolutely the man of the moment, and could be relied on to do whatever was asked of him.”

As the country faces the coronavirus pandemic, Radway said, “I am not necessarily afraid. I have a good idea as to what a virus is, given my training. But, I know I can still pick it up. I don’t go out unless I have to, only for necessities. I social distance and I wear a mask.”

Radway exercises regularly and maintains relationships with friends, which he credits in part to an appearance that belies his age. He also is current on civic topics and readily shares his opinions.

“It is very difficult to tell you how I felt about it (the George Floyd murder). It brings tears to your eyes to see how a human being is treated. This was a disgrace to the U.S. — a fine country to live in. What is lacking today is that you don’t think of other people — we just think of ourselves.”

The subsequent events exhumed similar contemplation.

 “The protests are mostly dignified. We are thinking as a whole, not in separate groups,” he said of the culturally diverse participants. “The more we get together, the better it is.”

“Carpe diem. It’s a moment that should be seized to make changes, enact laws with teeth and instigators should be judged.”