[sixties-l] RE: SF Gate: An Unlikely Hero/Anti-war a

From: Ron Cabral (rcabral@pacbell.net)
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 00:58:34 CUT

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    Please see the enclosed Memorial Day lead and front page story on Country
    Joe McDonald in the May 29,2000 San Francisco Chronicle. I would appreciate
    any feedback or discussion on your reaction to it.
    I am writing a book with Joe McDonald about his life and the emergence of
    Country Joe - to see samples of the book see www.countryjoe.com
    Ron Cabral rcabral@pacbell.net

    --------------------------------------------------------This article was
    sent to you by someone who found it on SF Gate.
    >The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    >May 29, 2000 (SF Chronicle)
    >An Unlikely Hero/Anti-war anthem gives Country Joe a platform for crusade
    >o honor vets
    >Michael Taylor, Chronicle Staff Writer
    > It's one of those indelible images from the Vietnam War era -- 1969,
    >Woodstock, Country Joe McDonald up on the stage, belting out the era's
    >anti-war anthem to more than half a million gyrating, mud-slathered,
    >toasted-to-the-gills fans.
    > "Come on, all of you big strong men/Uncle Sam needs your help
    >got himself in a terrible jam/Way down yonder in Vietnam."
    > The jam in Vietnam ended a quarter of a century ago, at a cost of more
    >than 2 million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers, as well as 58,220
    >American service men and women, whose memory is being honored today. But
    >the "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," the anthem of the anti-war '60s
    >'70s and the signature song of Berkeley's own Country Joe, stayed on and
    >on and on.
    > "Because of that song and the Woodstock film," McDonald said the other
    >day, "I'm linked to the Vietnam War, like it or not. In whatever way
    >people feel about the war, that's how they view Country Joe."
    > Things have mellowed. A lot of those Woodstock kids cut their hair and
    >now driving Beemers and washing down the second half of their lives with
    >Dom Perignon.
    > But McDonald, who is now 58 years old, became frozen in the aspic of
    >Indochina. And through a combination of personal obsession, colored by
    >own experience of being a Navy veteran turned anti- war activist, he has
    >become the champion of Vietnam veterans.
    > "I may dislike the generals and the politicians," he said of his
    >days, "but I never said anything bad about the individual soldiers." It's
    >a sentiment he has carried to numerous veterans' rallies during the past
    >three decades.
    > After a while, McDonald found that in some military circles he was
    >mentioned in the same breath as Jane Fonda," who became known as "Hanoi
    >Jane" for her highly publicized support of North Vietnam during the war.
    > "It's bothersome to be mentioned that way," McDonald said, pointing
    >that he was trained as an air traffic controller and served from 1959 to
    >1962 in the Navy, stationed in Japan. "I enlisted when I was 17 years
    >and I've experienced what every military veteran has experienced -- a
    >bell-shaped curve of emotions. Before you go in, you wonder about
    >patriotism and you're scared and you're not scared. Then you go in and
    >learn that it's a lot more complicated than just a bunch of push-ups and
    >pull-ups and shooting a gun."
    > After he was discharged, McDonald became a rock singer, and when the
    >bitterly satirical "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag" came out, it
    >crystallized the experience of many Vietnam vets.
    > After the war ended, McDonald found himself in big demand to play
    >for veterans causes that desperately needed money.
    > And it was during those years that McDonald persuaded the city of
    >to affix a bronze plaque honoring the notoriously anti-war city's 22
    >Vietnam War dead on the city's veterans building. He also helped create
    >interactive Web site (www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/links/comm/vvm/default.htm)
    >that, in stark black and white, brings to electronic life the images and
    >remembrances from the slain veterans' family, friends and former comrades
    >in arms.
    > Now, working with the San Francisco veterans group, Swords to
    >McDonald is trying to get San Francisco officialdom to pay symbolic
    >attention to the 163 San Franciscans who died in the Vietnam War by doing
    >for San Francisco what he did for Berkeley.
    > "If Berkeley can relate to its past and bring out the scrapbooks and
    >people to heal and have closure," he said, "San Francisco can do it if
    >they want to. Isn't it time to do the right thing?"
    > McDonald wants the city to hang a plaque, preferably at the War
    >Veterans Building across the street from City Hall, and create its own
    >site to honor its Vietnam War dead. He said he mentioned this to Willie
    >Brown at a party during the San Francisco mayoral campaign five years ago
    > -- "you get to talk to him for a hot minute" -- and Brown said, sure,
    >let's do it, it's a good idea, and went on to be mayor and nothing's
    >happened since.
    > Asked about McDonald's idea the other day, Brown said, "I think he's
    >right. There should be some acknowledgment. There should be a Vietnam
    >memorial somewhere in San Francisco." But he said the memorial would have
    >to be privately financed.
    > "I hope by the end of my term we can have something," Brown said,
    >out that it took years of lobbying in Sacramento to get a Vietnam
    >memorial on the Capitol grounds.
    > In fact, San Francisco has had a memorial to its war dead since 1932,
    >the War Memorial Veterans Building and Opera House on Van Ness Avenue,
    >built to honor the dead of World War I, were dedicated. But there are no
    >plaques honoring San Francisco veterans.
    > Whenever the subject of honoring the city's war dead with specific
    >comes up, the War Memorial Board of Trustees turns it down, something
    >rankles veterans and San Francisco politicians alike.
    > Two years ago, Supervisor Barbara Kaufman asked members of the War
    >Memorial Board why they couldn't put up plaques and received a reply from
    >the memorial's managing director, Elizabeth Murray.
    > "Over the years, there have been various proposals for the placement
    >plaques and/or monuments on the `San Francisco War Memorial' to
    >memorialize the purposes for which the War Memorial was constructed,"
    >Murray wrote. "However, for a variety of reasons, none of these proposals
    >were implemented."
    > Murray told Kaufman that the two buildings themselves, along with
    >common courtyard, "were intended to convey homage and spirit as a
    >to veterans."
    > Kaufman, however, thinks there's a problem.
    > "The way we treated Vietnam veterans was different from the way we
    >other veterans," she said. "They weren't treated as heroes, they were
    >treated as if they were the enemy. It's pretty disgraceful the way we
    >treated the Vietnam veterans."
    > "But I can see where the trustees would argue that we already have two
    >magnificent monuments for those who have fought for our country," she
    > For those whose loved ones died in Vietnam, however, a plaque honoring
    >Vietnam War dead should have been erected a long time ago, she said.
    > "We, the survivors, are still waiting for the city of San Francisco to
    >honor their sacrifice," said Margo McRice of Castro Valley, whose first
    >husband, Army Lt. Arthur R. Timboe, was killed during the Tet Offensive
    >early February 1968, six weeks before his 24th birthday. "As this is the
    >25th anniversary of the official end of the war in Vietnam, I feel time
    >of the essence."
    > The San Francisco memorial plaque or statue is still in search of a
    >powerful sponsor, but the memorial Web site may have better luck.
    > A ranking member of San Francisco's Veterans Affairs Commission, one
    >the city's two official veterans organizations, said he is eager to do
    >something for the city's Vietnam War dead and welcomed the idea of
    >up the commission's Web site (www.ci.sf.ca.us/vets/) to the kind of
    >interactivity already in use in Berkeley.
    > "I think it's a great idea to add the Vietnam vets to this Web site,"
    >Commissioner Wallace Levin, a San Francisco private investigator who is
    >also a Korean War veteran and past president of the commission. "There's
    >no reason why we shouldn't recognize the Vietnam veterans."
    > He said he would bring up the idea when the commission meets at 6 p.m.
    >June 5 at the Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Ave.
    > At the city's Department of Telecommunications and Information
    >Deputy Director Rod Loucks said that adding the names of the 163 San
    >Francisco veterans who gave their lives in Vietnam would not be very
    >difficult and would fit within the purpose of the taxpayer-supported
    > "The intent of the city's Web site is not only for government people,"
    >said, "but is also a community- based resource."
    > Loucks said there might be a problem paying for Web-savvy techs to get
    >material on the Web site -- it could cost up to about $5,000 for an
    >interactive site -- but McDonald said that in the past he has been able
    >raise money to pay for these memorials.
    > McDonald said he is inured to the fact that these things don't happen
    >overnight and he takes comfort from his friend Jan Scruggs, the veteran
    >who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) that
    >was dedicated in Washington, D.C., in November 1982, after Scruggs and
    >others spent three years raising $8.4 million from private donations to
    >get the wall designed and built.
    > "Inertia is always easy, particularly with government officials,"
    >said the other day. "All that's needed there is some leadership, and I'm
    >sure Country Joe and other veterans will get behind this thing and make
    >happen. Symbols are very important, as many small towns and large towns
    >have found out. Commemorating tragedies and triumphs is part of the
    >of a city. It's the type of thing people have to remember."
    >"I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" Well, come on mothers throughout the
    >land, Pack your boys off to Vietnam. Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
    >'em off before it's too late. Be the first one on your block To have your
    >boy come home in a box. And it's one, two, three, What are we fighting
    >for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn, Next stop is Vietnam. And it's
    >five, six, seven, Open up the pearly gates, Well there ain't no time to
    >wonder why Whoopee! we're all gonna die.
    >S.F. VICTIMS OF THE VIETNAM WAR San Franciscans who died or were declared
    >missing in action as a result of the Vietnam War ((m) -- missing in
    > Sgt. Eddie Achica, 35, Army.
    > Tech. Sgt. Felizardo Aguillon, 36, Air Force.(m)
    > SFC Albert Akamu, 34, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Daniel Alegre, 21, Army.
    > PFC John Ananian, 22, Army.
    > Sgt. Gregory Antunano, 21, Army.(m)
    > Sgt. Joseph Artavia, 19, Army.
    > PFC Tony Baker, 20, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Carlos Baldizon-Izquierdo, 22, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Gary Banglos, 21, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Charles Barrett, 20, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Michael Bartholomew, 21, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Samuel Bell, 30, Marine Corps.
    > Sgt. Boris Bentley, 22, Army.
    > Lance Cpl. Michael Bianchini, 19, Marine Corps.
    > CN Martin Blakely, 22, Navy.
    > 1st Lt. Richard Bloom, 24, Marine Corps.
    > SFC Domingo Borja, 35, Army.(m)
    > PFC Joseph Borruso Jr., 20, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Theophilus Bowles, 21, Army.
    > Sgt. Oscar Boydston, 22, Army.
    > PFC Murray Britton, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Spec. 4 Franklin Brodnik, 23, Army.
    > HM3 Bruce Brown, 22, Navy.
    > Lance Cpl. Leonard Burris, 19, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Jose Caiquep, 25, Army.(m)
    > Sgt. Richard Campos, 26, Army.
    > Cpl. Richard Carlson, 20, Army.
    > SA Peter Chan, 20, Navy.
    > 2d Lt. Gary Clark, 20, Army.
    > Capt. Robert Clirehugh Jr., 25, Army.
    > PFC Sam Cole Jr., 20, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Charles Cook Jr., 25, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Robert Criswell, 20, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cruise Jr., 23, Army.
    > PFC Gregorio Deocampo, 23, Marine Corps.
    > GMG3 Raymond Dock Jr., 22, Navy.
    > PFC Johnnie Douglas, 22, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Gerald Douglass Jr., 21, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Ronald Ducommun, 19, Army.
    > Sgt. Jimmy Dunagan, 23, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Robert Elgin, 29, Army.
    > Lt. Bruce Farrell, 30, Navy.
    > Staff Sgt. Alexander Fedoroff, 23, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Ronald Ferguson, 23, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Ronald Fillmore, 20, Army.(m)
    > Spec. 4 Terence Fitzgerald, 27, Army.
    > GMG2 Patrick Ford, 26, Navy.(m)
    > Sgt. Paul Foster, 28, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Harry Gamble, 23, Marine Corps.
    > Lance Cpl. Marcial Garcia, 19, Marine Corps.
    > 2d Lt. David Garringer, 22, Marine Corps.
    > Spec. 5 Robert Geiger, 28, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Everett Goias, 20, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Jose Gosse, 23, Army.
    > Cpl. Kenneth Gray, 20, Army.
    > PFC Raymond Griffiths, 19, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Thomas Guaraldi, 20, Army.
    > Capt. James Hall, 35, Marine Corps.
    > Lance Cpl. Robert Henneberg, 19, Marine Corps.
    > Staff Sgt. Faleagafulu Ilaoa, 27, Air Force.
    > PFC Rudolph Jennings, 18, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Michael Jensen, 21, Army.
    > Cpl. Anthony Johnson, 20, Army.
    > Pvt. Floyd Johnson, 20, Army.
    > Capt. James Johnson, 33, Army.(m)
    > Staff Sgt. Ralph Johnson, 23, Marine Corps.
    > Staff Sgt. John Joys, 27, Marine Corps.
    > Sgt. James Kajiwara, 20, Army.
    > Capt. William Kennedy III, 25, Army.
    > PFC Ludwig Kohler, 39, Army.
    > Sgt. Leonard Labowski, 22, Marine Corps.
    > Spec. 4 Leonard Lanzarin, 20, Army.
    > Capt. Peter Larson, 25, Army.
    > BUL3 Robert Lathrope, 21, Navy.
    > PFC George Lazar, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Elroy Felipe Este Le Blanc, 20, Army.(m)
    > Sgt. Roy Lede, 20, Air Force.
    > HM3 Earl Lerch, 22, Navy.
    > 2d Lt. Gary Letson, 24, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Sai Lew, 21, Army.
    > Cpl. Max Lieberman, 22, Army.
    > PFC Michael Lowery, 20, Army. SFC Thomas Lutge, 31, Army.
    > Lt. Col. William Lynch Jr., 45, Air Force.
    > Spec. 4 Danny Mack, 20, Army.
    > Sgt. Robert Mack, 43, Army.
    > PFC George Martinez, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Sgt. John Martinez, 21, Army.
    > Cpl. Paul Martinez Jr., 20, Army.
    > Sgt. William McTaggart, 27, Marine Corp.
    > 2d Lt. Paul Medlin, 24, Army.
    > Lance Cpl. Allan Mendell, 21, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Rene Mischeaux, 20, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Michael Monahan, 21, Army.
    > Cpl. Jimmy Moore, 21, Army.
    > Cmdr. Richard Morrow, 40, Navy.(m)
    > Cpl. Jose Munatones Jr., 19, Army.
    > Sgt. Vincent Murphy Jr., 22, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Alvin Narcisse, 19, Army.
    > Spec. 4 John Nathan, 19, Army.
    > Sgt. Elavain Nious, 21, Army.
    > Spec.4 Charles Nurisso, 19, Army.
    > Capt. Denis O'Connor, 27, Army.
    > Sgt. Dennis Kenneth O'Connor, 20, Army.
    > Cpl. Reinaldo Ortiz, 20, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Ceizhar Pagcaliuagan, 21, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Luther Page Jr., 38, Army.
    > PFC Keila Paopao, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Lance Cpl. Kenneth Parker, 21, Marine Corps.
    > Spec. 4 John Parnella, 22, Army.
    > 2d Lt. Dorris Patton, 34, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Joseph Perez, 21, Army.
    > Staff Sgt. Samuel Pierce Jr., 37, Army.
    > HM2 Bob Pogre, 18, Navy.
    > PFC Richard Pratt, 21, Army.
    > PFC Emmett Pringle, 18, Marine Corps.
    > Maj. Edward Quill Jr., 33, Air Force.(m)
    > Sgt. George Ramos, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Lance Cpl. Edward Rauch, 20, Marine Corps.
    > Maj. Robert Reed, 34, Marine Corps.
    > Cpl. Salvador Ricardo, 22, Army.
    > PFC Jose Rivera, 20, Army.
    > Cpl. Gary Rodgers, 20, Army.
    > CMS Victor Romero, 28, Air Force.(m) Cpl. Francisco Samson Jr., 21,
    > PFC Robert Sandstrom, 22, Army.
    > Capt. John Santos Jr., 30, Air Force.
    > PFC Joel Schubert, 26, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Steven Segura, 20, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Donald Smith, 19, Army.
    > BM3 Wiselee Smith, 28, Navy.
    > CWO Odin Sorensen, 49, Air Force.
    > Spec. 4 Frank Spotwood Jr., 20, Army.
    > Col. Theodore Springston Jr., 44, Air Force.(m)
    > Staff Sgt. Michael Stearns, 23, Army.
    > Spec. 5 Jose Suarez, 26, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Raymond Sullivan, 18, Army.
    > A1C Richard Supnet, 19, Air Force.
    > Lance Cpl. Laavale Tagata, 26, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Paul Taylor, 19, Army.
    > PFC Edgar Thompson, 20, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Fred Thorpe, 20, Army.
    > 1st Lt. Arthur Timboe, 23, Army.(m)
    > Spec. 4 Dennis Timmons, 22, Army.
    > PFC Matau Toia Jr., 19, Marine Corps.
    > PFC Richard Tomasini Jr., 19, Army.
    > SFC Bertalan Toth, 31, Army.
    > Cpl. Robert Tyes, 25, Army.
    > Col. Russel Utley, 44, Air Force.(m)
    > Sgt. John Valero, 21, Army.
    > Lance Cpl. Arthur Vigil, 21, Marine Corps.
    > Spec. 4 Patrick Weber, 20, Army.
    > PFC Frank Wells Jr., 19, Army.
    > Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Wentzell, 19, Marine Corps.
    > PFC William Wheatley, 18, Marine Corps.
    > Sgt. Michael Whelan, 20, Army.
    > Spec. 4 Jeffrey White, 21, Army.
    > Spec. 5 David Williams, 18, Army.
    > A1C Darryl Winters, 27, Air Force.
    > Spec. 5 Akira Yamashita, 28, Army.
    > Sgt. Victor Yanez, 21, Army.
    > Cpl. Efrain Zuniga Jr., 21, Army.
    > Source: Department of Defense, Chronicle research.
    > Chronicle staff writer Edward Epstein contributed to this report.
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    >Copyright 2000 SF Chronicle

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