Saturday, November 26, 2011

Protest in the Sixties

It has been quite a while since I was in college in the University of Iowa.  It was in the second half of the sixties, and into the beginning of the seventies. Viet Nam was a constant nagging in the background, and at times burst into the open.  Dick Gregory talked to a huge auditorium full of students.  At the time he was on a hunger strike. There were peaceful protests on the grounds of the University, and at one point a temporary building was burned. 

I was in my junior year when Kent State burst into riots.  The University decided that anyone who chose could take their grade as it stood, and go home. I took the option, but I didn't have to go home because I lived off campus.

I was living in a community supported by the Lutheran Church.  We were a fairly large group, and we had adult mentors.  We discussed what we wanted to achieve: to tell adults why we were against the Viet Nam War.  As we had a church supporting us, we went to as many churches as we could, talking about what mattered to us. We simply did not believe war was the way to peace.

The University brought in the National Guards.  I remember taking a walk and passing a place where there were Guardsmen with rifles in hand. I didn't really believe the Guardsman would shoot me just walking by, but it was definitely scary.  Spooky!  The issues are not exactly the same, yet there are similarities.  The young people today are no longer in a lottery, and don't have to go to war against their will.  But there is so much damage to those who choose to go into the military - not just physical.  In fact, the mental and emotional damage can be even more difficult. 

My prayer is that we all will come to terms and stop killing people.  May we learn that we are all part of the whole, and we must learn to respect every being on the planet.

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