Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

The new documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which I am watching, though not in real time, reminded me of the time I might have seen John Lennon but did not.

I have noted that I participated in a number of antiwar demonstrations between 1968 and 1974. (In 1967, it would not have occurred to me.) A few were in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, which got bigger and bigger as the war dragged on.

But most Vietnam prtook place while I was a student in New Paltz, NY, starting in 1971. A handful took place in town or around the area (Kingston, Poughkeepsie). But most were in New York City, with a fair number in Washington, DC.

It was at one of the New York City rallies – there were so many, I no longer remember when – that a bunch of us took a charter bus to New York City to stand up against what was the latest incursion. And after we rallied for a couple hours, we got the bus home.

Someone was listening to the rally on the radio – I’m guessing WBAI-FM, which makes sense, given its history. An organizer at the announced John Lennon and Yoko Ono, only ten minutes after we had reboarded the bus. We were still in Manhattan, but, of course, there was a schedule to keep.

I don’t what he said specifically that day – it was probably similar to the ideas expressed here – but we were all disappointed to miss it first-hand.

John Lennon’s struggle against war I thought was brave, not because he had been a Beatle, but because he was facing deportation from the United States because of what was likely was a bogus drug possession arrest and conviction in the UK a couple of years earlier.

Hmm – interesting how what would have been the the 77th birthday of John Lennon converges with the now-controversial celebration of Columbus Day, given the often xenophobic polices of the current regime.

Listen to:
Give Peace a Chance – Plastic Ono Band here or here.

DanielBerriganQuote
When I first went to college in 1971, I was pulling away from my “traditional” Christian roots. At the same time, I was fascinated by two Catholic priests, the Berrigans, who were fighting against the Vietnam War in provocative ways.

Separately and together, Philip and Daniel Berrigan, with a coterie other, mostly Catholic, protesters, were involved in several antiwar activities. The Berrigans and seven others:

…used homemade napalm to destroy 378 draft files in the parking lot of the Catonsville, Maryland, draft board on May 17, 1968. This group, which came to be known as the Catonsville Nine, issued a statement after the incident:

“We confront the Roman Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor.”

In retrospect, the trial of the Catonsville Nine was significant because it “altered resistance to the Vietnam War, moving activists from street protests to repeated acts of civil disobedience, including the burning of draft cards.”

And that surely included me Read the rest of this entry »

war_peace
There was a time when I thought there were bad guys and good guys, and they were very easily distinguishable.

But now I think war is failure. Even a “just war” may be, at very best, the least bad outcome. And usually, just a bad outcome, with war profiteers (Blackwater, or whatever they’re calling themselves now). Pope Francis got it right this month: “Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war.”
Read the rest of this entry »

S.  Vietnamese in Da Nang struggle to climb aboard ships that will evacuate them to Cam Ranh Ba

S. Vietnamese in Da Nang struggle to climb aboard ships that will evacuate them to Cam Ranh Ba

I’ve been reading several news articles about the documentary ‘Last Days in Vietnam’, directed by Rory Kennedy, daughter of RFK, which revisits the fall of Saigon in 1975. If I get the opportunity, I’ll have to watch it.

I became actively opposed the Vietnam war in mid-1968, as much because of a 1967 speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. as anything.

Prior to that – I WAS only 15 – Read the rest of this entry »

After getting a letter from the Selective Service, a/k/a, the draft board, indicating that I was reclassified 1-A (eligible for military service) over the summer, I filed an appeal. Though I was living in my college town of New Paltz, NY, I had to return to my hometown of Binghamton, NY.

There were three men on the draft board. The chairman said that his daughter talked about me all the time when we were in high school; I was president of student government and involved in the theater club, among other things. Did I remember her? I said, “Oh, yeah!” I had no idea who she was, at least by name, though maybe I would have recognized her by sight.

One guy said, after introducing himself, said absolutely nothing.

The third man Read the rest of this entry »

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