Sorry, No Marches for Me

Like Jonathon and others, I thought long and hard about whether I should join the protest march in Portland this weekend.

My daughter marched in Tacoma on Saturday with a friend who was pregnant and due Saturday. I’m proud my daughter marched, and I hope for my grandchildren’s sake that America see the error of its ways and learns to work in cooperation with other countries, not ignore world opinion.

I think the real reason I didn’t march was my memory of the anti-war Vietnam marches I came home to in 1966. I was so damn mad when I got off that airplane from Saigon that I nearly had to be restrained from screaming back at the protestors. I fought the war my country asked me to fight. I didn’t want to fight there, but I felt it was my responsibility to honor my military commitment. When I was advised not to wear my uniform home on the airplane, I ignored that advice, daring anyone to confront me.

There are still too many bad memories to participate in an anti-war march even today. Hopefully today’s protestors will make it clear that they are against the Bush administration, not the soldiers who will lose the most if we do attack. As for me, I’m afraid old memories die hard.

I will continue to protest the war on my blog and will vote for those willing to stand up the administration, and against those who go blindly along with it. I will send money to those who actively oppose the war and the attack on the environment, but unfortunately I won’t be marching anytime soon.

6 thoughts on “Sorry, No Marches for Me

  1. Loren, reading your post made me wonder whether part of the reason I didn’t march yesterday is that I too have bad memories of the anti-war Vietnam marches. Unlike you, I didn’t serve in Vietnam but I’ve always had the highest regard for those who, as you say, honored their military commitment. I’ve written about having “seen the war from both sides” and I realize now that the deep resentment I’ve felt towards those demonstrators who treated our veterans with contempt has discouraged me from taking part in any demonstrations. It’s just odd that it’s taken me so long to figure this out.

  2. The sad thing about the demonstrations against the Vietnamese war was that those who cried out “Baby Killer!” were given such prominance in the press and elsewhere. They truly did not represent many of us who protested the war because we were tired of seeing people we loved come home in a coffin.

    (I remember that I resented the hell out of the gun salute at my cousin’s funeral. At 13, I though this was so inappropriate — he was shot, why shoot a gun in remembrance?)

    Not that I wasn’t up for a little bit of civil disobedience now and again, but I never forgot to separate the actions of those who served, from the actions of those in charge.

    It makes me even sadder still, to see that those shallow idiots have had such long term effects. It doesn’t help to say that they didn’t represent all of us, because the damage has been done.

    However, having said that — I realized when I made my comments yesterday in Jonathon’s weblog, that I was falling into the role of zealot, insisting that others follow my actions if they believed as I do. I’m old enough to know better. I think I was caught up in the moment when I stood shoulder to shoulder with others, singing “From a Distance”. It brought back memories, and perhaps a little of the enthusiasim (and intolerance) from my youth.

    Each of us should follow whatever action our hearts and heads dictate when it comes to this ‘war’, there is no right or wrong way to show our viewpoint.

    And regardless of what happens, our soldiers deserve our support.

  3. I do think that most people are quite aware of the soldier versus war distinction today, probably as a result of the bitterness of the Vietnam veterans.

    I hope that we can continue to make that distinction even if we do go to war.

  4. First of all I must be honest and tell you that I disagree with the “anti-war” movement; in fact I find it very disturbing. However, I enjoy some of the stuff you write and I’ll keep reading occasionally.

    The main reason for this comment is because I thought you might like this essay by another anti-war blogger.

  5. Loren fwiw I saw many an interview with protesters on Saturday and everyone of them made a point of stating they supported the soldiers but not the government. I’d like to believe we have learned a lesson or two since Vietnam, at least the general population seems to have, the government well that’s another story.

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