It’s very interesting to watch the news today concerning the protests occurring not only in our country, but around the world. From what we see on the news, the protests and a small war seem to have a lot in common. Truth is, most are rather peaceful.
That said, let’s bounce back to the dark days of the anti-war protests in the ’60s and ’70s. The footage from them makes what we see today look like a Sunday afternoon picnic.
But even those were rather peaceful.
Or so said two people who were opposite sides of the line. Sgt. P was a young soldier back then. His wife, or to be specific, his future wife Connie, was one of the hippies waving signs and chanting, and looking at this young man behind the riot mask and who held an M-16.
Both admit that there were moments that things were kind of ugly, but that was far and few between. Connie said it best. Violence just breeds violence, and whatever message you’re trying to get across is cheapened or lost when you have to use violence to demonstrate against violence.
Instead, she was one of the girls who put flowers in the barrels of guns. And while the press showed it as hard lines, it wasn’t. People talked across the lines. And since people are generally good at heart, dialogues ensued, and when breaks were taken, the protesters would sit down with the soldiers. Stories and jokes would be swapped, and so on.
So she sat down with this handsome young man she’d been looking at and they began talking. He told her he was going to ‘Nam, and she told him she would pray for him, and write him if he liked. He said that would be nice.
Pretty soon, the break would be over, and everyone would go back to their respective lines.
Well, during one break, he said if he were married, the Army would give him more money. She said if she were married, she’d get more money to go to school.
The next day, they were married at a Justice of the Peace. They spent a weekend together, and he shipped to ‘Nam.
As promised, she wrote, and on occasion he’d write or call.
She met him at the plane when he came home. By their own admissions, he was a mess. He was an addict, drunk all the time, and pursued by the demons of things he’d d seen and done.
She began working on him. She got him off the dope, and slowly he began telling her about the stuff he’d gone through. He talked to her about being shot down (he wasn’t an MP then), but was assigned to a small helicopter as a gunner. He told her about running through the jungle with his warrant, and with the VC not more than a hundred yards behind them. And he told her about his warrant dying in another crash.
And she held him at night and let him cry till he fell asleep.
Eventually, she turned this broken boy back into a man.
Now here they were twenty plus years later. Both were in their forties. He was still the tough old soldier, and she was still the flower child. A marriage that had started as a means to get more money was still in place. Today, they have children between them, and they’ve been around the world and back.
According to them, the only reason they were still married was because they were both to lazy to go find a lawyer.
And everyone who believes that one, stand on your head.