Posted tagged ‘Vietnam War’

A Time of Reflection

May 30, 2019

This past Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to see “The Moving Wall.” It was set up on the Village Green in our town. The wall is a half-size version of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and it tours the country. You can read more about it here.

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I was surprised by how I reacted when I saw the wall. It brought back memories of the late sixties when there were many protests going on – both peaceful and violent. It was a time when the Selective Service used lottery numbers to determine which men of draft age would be called to duty. My brother had a number, and we prayed he would never be called.

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Young men, many of whom had never been far from home, found themselves in a country filled with the unknown. Danger was everywhere. Besides the enemy, there were monsoon rains, insects, dense jungle foliage, heat, humidity, and the horrors of combat. It felt like an endless war – an unpopular war that did not end well.

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Looking at “The Moving Wall” brought sadness to my heart. It was a quiet, reflective time, as I thought of all those young people who left home to fulfill their duty to their country but never returned.

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“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” –Colonel David Hackworth

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The Sound of Music – Forty-Three Years Ago

August 17, 2012

Woodstock! I’m not talking about Charles Schultz’s feathered comic strip character. I’m talking about a place where artists like Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, Joan Baez, and Carlos Santana sang songs that included  “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Evil Ways.” Woodstock was a Who’s Who of rock, blues, and folk legends. Word got out that it was the place to go – the place to be.

Beginning on August 15, 1969, an explosion of young people descended upon a sleepy town in upstate Bethel, New York. It was a time of political unrest and the peak of the Vietnam War. For three-plus days, hundreds of thousands of people showed up to listen to music mixed in with rain, mud, sex, and drugs. Advertised as the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, this music festival made history.

The unexpected crowds caused a multitude of problems. There was a colossal traffic jam, long lines for toilets, insufficient food, and rain – rain that turned the field into a muddy mess. No matter. Those that were there grooved to the music. Richie Havens’ “Freedom,” Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the unique voice of Janis Joplin filled the country air. Can you feel the beat?

That was forty-three years ago. It was a time and a place that will never be repeated. Even if you weren’t alive, their unforgettable music still resonates today for all to appreciate and enjoy. In honor of this historic event, celebrate these legendary artists by rocking out to their music. And while you’re at it, check these out.

A Documentary:  Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music 

A Young Adult Novel:  Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing written by Ann Angel

A Picture Book:  Jimi:  Sounds Like a Rainbow:  A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe


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