A War Reminiscent Of The Past
Posted by Keith on Dec 1, 2003 - 11:25:00 PM
Vietnam War soldiers caught for an epic photo courtesy of History.com
WASHINGTON D.C.—I was a little nervous. I always was before one of
these things. All you could do was hope for the best, wonder how far it would
go, and try not to get hurt or busted. Finally someone shouts "Let's
go!", and the human mass surges forward toward the R.O.T.C. building.
Within minutes the structure is "liberated" and occupied, and those
administrators and instructors who had refused to vacate when given the chance
before the takeover now become hostages to be bargained for with the proper
A list of demands is sent out, the leaders of the
occupation go from floor to floor barking out instructions and encouragement,
the scene is surreal and angry, and everyone's smoking. Soon a large group of
jocks, beers in hand, assemble, followed by the police and then flanks of
National Guard troops in full riot gear. We're surrounded and through
bullhorns, are ordered out of the building. The reply is the two-word epithet
accompanied by the one-fingered salute...We're not going anywhere! If you
want it Pigs, you're gonna have to come and take it! Serious words, but the
impending clash turns into a negotiated standoff, we settle in, and as night
falls I realize that I'm hungry...
It's Autumn 1969. I'm a 19-year old college
sophomore on a large campus, a political activist and an S.D.S. member in good
standing. The war in Vietnam is raging, chewing up the unfinished young lives
of the men of my generation, and my draft status is I-A (subject to be called
at any time. I hadn't requested a student deferment). Protesting that war was
not only a moral imperative for me, but included a vested interest. I couldn't
see my destiny as being killed in the middle of someone else's civil war
half-a-world away, and I'm still bitter about the 58,000 men whose destinies
entailed exactly that, for no reason, all as a result of the miscalculations
and egos of the civilian fascists who sent them there.
Anger doesn't really capture the feel of the era;
We were outraged and eager to enjoin the fight in the streets, if that's what
it took. I always wanted to burn down the buildings we stormed, but we never
did. Seven months later came Kent State, all Hell broke loose, and we finally
started torching stuff. It was a beautiful thing, M----- F-----, and
thirty-four years later that war still rages inside of me as Peter Jennings
..."In Iraq today, two more
American soldiers were killed when their vehicle was ambushed while patroling
the streets of Mosul in the north. This brings to 400 the number of American
dead since hostilities began in March...."
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