Monday, December 1, 2008

Hell,No, We Won't Go!

By 1969 more than 14,000 Americans had been killed in Vietnam and over 323,000 had been wounded. In Washington D.C. of that year, over 250,000 people protested the war.
The draft board was the main reason for the protests. My friends back then did all they could to get out of being drafted. Some went to Canada and others tried to act crazy or said they were drug addicts or gay when they had to show up at the draft board. Some even just evaded the draft and were on the run. Public protests included burning draft cards. Bottom line, I had friends that were killed in that war and friends that made it home with serious mental problems.
All males between the age of 18 and 35 were required to register with the Selective Service Administration. They then could be drafted at any time. The draft board gave deferments to college and graduate school students and that left the soldiers to be working class whites and minorities who could not afford college. Thousands of men were drafted every year to make up for the three million troops in all.
As the war continued to drag on, millions of Americans joined the anti-war movement.
There was turmoil on college campuses and a new group, Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) emerged.
This war was televised almost every evening so we could watch uncensored scenes of burning villages, dead soldiers and other horrible images. I must say, this tactic sure didn't win any votes for the war.
Drugs were an issue among the soldiers. They were running rampant here and also there. I had friends that were so stoned out of their minds, that they basically didn't know why they were there.
Lyndon Johnson made Vietnam his war. He personally selected bombing targets and got out of bed at 3 o'clock every morning to hear the latest reports form Saigon. One anti-war chant was, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"
He agonized over the growing casualty list and tried to ignore the protesters chanting outside his window. On March 31, 1968, Johnson realized he had lost the trust of a divided nation and announced he would not run again for office.
This is just one example that made the 60's some of the most turbulent years in American history.


Staya said...

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Feel free to read and comment.

Staya said...

Joyce, thank you very much for your piece of life experience. Your opinion is valuable for me. ;)

OregonArtGuy said...

Hi Joyce:
Boy, do you bring back memories! I think Country Joe and the Fish summed it up best.