Thursday, June 13, 2013

So young and itching to grow up

Funny, how we are so full of confidence at a young age

 It was the year 1966 and America was embroiled in a war in a place called Vietnam and either the world was beginning to act crazy or, as young boys trying to find our places in the world, it just seemed crazy to us.  The Vietnam War was on the daily news, race riots were also taking place in various areas of America and the National Guard units were being called out, often, to help keep the peace in many of the Southern states.  We just knew the world was changing, rapidly and we wanted to be able to find our places in it all. 

   Music was changing too and much of it was starting to reflect the opinions many young people were having toward the draft and the Vietnam War in the form of protest songs. The Beatles, a band from England, were popular.  We grew up watching TV with its daily news about American unrest, flights into space and of course, the Communist were coming, or so the news led us to believe. The draft was also in full bloom and young men were nervous at the prospect of being forced to fight a war they knew nothing about.  I know history calls it a conflict, but so many people were killed in Vietnam that it should be placed in the war category, not a conflict class.  I guess it can be summed up as an era of raging against the machine by the younger society.

So young, so proud of serving

  My best friend and I had had a lot in common, both of us had shared a feeling of growing tired of Indiana and we both thought our lives were pretty boring here.  I guess the move to Michigan was his way of getting away from the boredom.   I still couldn’t believe he was dead.  When some kids at school told me he had been killed, it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  I ran my fingers through my hair, trying desperately to catch my breath. I even thought I'd misheard them at first.  I tried to glean more information from those guys but no one had any details other than he had been killed.  

Most of us kids didn't know a lot about death, certainly not the death of anyone so close to us.  We talked after school and made plans to go to Michigan to attend his funeral.  I think the trip was as much out of curiosity concerning death, as it was about paying our last respects.

My story

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