Re: the so called summer of love

Penny Williams (
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 08:10:26

First allow me to define my right to respond to this post. I was born
in 1950 and graduated high school 1969. A lot of the 'boys' in my
class ended up in Viet Nam, some enlisted and some were drafted. At my
high schools 10th reunion I discovered that over half of these 'boys'
had died in Viet Nam. I knew a lot of them where not coming home.
Almost every week my friends and I would hear about another friend who
died but I had not realized the extent until the reunion. My brother
was a POW, he is still a POW in a lot of ways and will be for the rest
of his life. His wife and children have suffered today because of
what he gave to that war. Our father was retired Air Force. We grew
up on wonderful, simplistic stories of the heroes who fought in WWII
to save our glorious country from evil. All my friends, whether they
enlisted or were drafted thought they were going to fight that war not
Viet Nam. Yes, we saw it every day on television, it consumed most of
thoughts and conversations and defined our lives forever.

Miles wrote: This was a political statement and although some of the
thoughts expressed seem to be unpopular, it is beyond me how any of it
was seen as personal.

Your statement was more then just political, to me, because the war
was more than political. It was very personal and still is very
personal. I still cry when I think of all the guys I knew that never
came home. I still see a lot of their family's. Their parents are
grandparents and great grandparents now. Their nieces and nephews
talk proudly of their Uncle who died in Viet Nam. They take his
metals to show and tell. They pray for him nightly and a few still
set a place for him at Thanksgiving and Christmas. They still hurt,
profoundly from their loss and it is very personal. And I want my
brother back like he was before the war. I miss him, I suffer with
him and his family and it is very personal.

I feel that Mile's 'simplistic' analysis of the 'complicated and
complex issues is incorrect and have taken the liberty of changing his
statements to fit my beliefs.

My analysis of all of those complicated and complex issues is:

1.America's participation in the Viet Nam War was NOT wrong. For me,
I will not allow it to be wrong. To do so would diminish the value of
all the lives lost, all the lives destroyed and all the pain suffered
by everyone touched whether the loss was from serving in the streets,
Canada or Viet Nam. 2.America's policy makers who got us in the War
were wrong. How the policy makers fought the war was very wrong. And
I hope and pray that my son will never encountered anything like it in
his life time. I would probably strongly suggest he go to Canada or
somewhere else that would be safe if he did. 3.American's soldiers
who fought in the War were NOT wrong. They were for the most part
kids. And they gave their life to fight a war that was a sick
economic game to the policy makers in Washington. Miles is right the
( it could not have happened without them.) part of his analysis is
correct but I believe he has forgotten how it is to be 17, 18 or 19
years old. Or maybe he was one of the lucky teen-agers who was mature
for his age and had it all figured out. There are not, even today, a
lot of kids that age who are capable of thinking of "The consequence
and responsibility of personal choice" that he is requiring of the
Viets as a whole. We only have to look at the numbers of teens who
smoke, contact venereal disease, become pregnant, etc. to validate
that a great majority are not developmentally able to be "responsible
for their actions, usually, regardless of their motivation".

Miles wrote: 2)<As a member of VVAW since 1970 and one of the current
National Co-Coordinators, I would merely point out that most of our
members (including myself) actually enlisted in the military because
we "bought" the anti-communist line thrown at us since birth. - Joe
Miller> Choice! Some of us made the choice to do the right thing.
Some of us made the choice to be "complicit" in the wrong thing.

Miles, I am very glad that you came home, seemly alive and well. And
hurrah for you and your strength to choose as your heart dictated.
Forgive me for continuing to Honor those who did not come home or
those who are not seemly well as I shall continue to call them the