EXPERIENCE 1960s AND 1970s CULTURE!
In honor of the Fourth of July
please take a moment to thank all those who gave their lives for our freedom throughout ALL the wars this nation has fought, whether drafted, enlisted, volunteered or shot-down by our own National Guard for protesting the Vietnam War –
and play Hendrix’ “Star Spangled Banner” as righteous background music.
Jimi Hendrix’ “Star Spangled Banner” Ltd. Ed. 30th Anniversary Commemorative 7″ Single
issued in 1999 – from 00individual’s collection.
EXPERIENCE THE VIETNAM WAR
The war that divided a nation and generations
Back in the mid-to-late ’60s, with no internet or quick way to get information, we had to rely on the underground newspapers and underground radio and our newly-acquired heightened-sense of intuition to translate the U.S. Government’s lies about the War into the hidden truths.
Seeing the war on the six o’clock news every night was horrific for many Americans; myself included – today U.S. citizens and the public at large are not allowed to see any soldiers returning in “bags” – it’s “out of sight, out of mind” and sickeningly sad, but it works for them – keeps the public’s interest diverted to other important things like, uh, “reality” TV.
Even when I was younger and learned about WWI and WWII, I understood the basic reasons for those wars, enough for my ‘50s child mind to cogitate justification; but here many years later; I saw none. It became apparent that we were not getting the whole story and if I was to lay my life on the line I demanded some answers. Hell, we were able to die, but not even vote! Eventually we didn’t care about answers – there were none to support this mass insanity.
And then a very strange thing happened; much like the scene in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when the simian touches the monolith and becomes aware, so was there a “Divine Intervention” of another monolith that came on the scene at just the right time to elevate the consciousness of an entire generation: marijuana.
This single element is responsible for our generation to question the traditional way we were raised. Called correctly, a truth herb, marijuana had the almost inescapable ability to allow one to really look at and into themselves, and for most probably for the first time in their lives. Many were thankful for this opportunity of self-awareness, but there were those who didn’t like what they saw.
The “truth” is that after getting high it was harder to bullshit yourself and in some cases impossible, and it made it harder for anyone to bullshit you – as you acquired the ability to see others for who they really were. Consequently, you saw the whole world in a more clear “truthful” way than when you were “straight”.
The most important awareness was to “Question Authority”, something tradition taught us never to do. Once that became our inner mantra the dam of archaic tradition burst and there was no going back. Nor would we have wanted to – we were exploring and creating a new world that made sense to our newly-acquired individual thinking. Self-awareness extended outward to everything, and at the top of the priority list was the War. It was wrong and had to be stopped.
At eighteen and a half I had graduated mid-term from high school, did a half-semester of Jr. College and by the time I was 19 I quit institutionalized education because I thankfully landed a job in an art department. I moved out and into a kick-ass beach pad I shared with two good buddies. During this time, I had a cool ’51 Buick (a big straight 8 with a backseat that was like a bedroom), a motorcycle (a Honda 350, but I worked my way up to a classic ’69 Harley-Davidson Sportster a few years later), two girlfriends and all the drugs, weed, pharmaceuticals and psychotropics I wanted – and – I was experiencing Rock Legends live in concert! My life was so far out that I hardly remember working! Every night was a tribal gathering of the free-spirited souls of our group – it was blissful. Every day was magical, because magical things happened! I was passing through an alternate universe of seemingly endless possibilities.
But, observing the yin and yang of life, at the same time I, and my Brothers across America, had to deal with the very real threat of the Draft. This was a scary time that had to do with our future – and if we’d have one. The Draft, the United States Government’s “Lottery of Death”, literally provided fresh meat for the war. Since we had quickly learned that “everything starts with you”, our little group, like the many that made up our Tribal Nation, contributed to the anti-war effort by not going, by conscientiously opposing, by protesting and by letting them know, “Hell No, We Won’t Go!” – and according to records, about 60% of eligible men avoided military service during the Vietnam War; that’s an estimated 250,000. We all opposed this historically wrong “war” and yet we were forced (conscription) to be part of the Lottery of Death – or leave the U.S. – or go to prison.
EXPERIENCE THE DRAFT
00individual in the cross-hairs at the height of the Vietnam War
It was Monday, July 1, 1970 and at the art department where I worked it was silent as everyone was listening to the radio – everyone knew or was related to someone facing the draft. I was one of them; prime meat; cannon fodder.
The first lottery was held on December 1, 1969, but this was the second lottery, held strictly for men (boys; teenagers really) born in 1951, the year I was born. Everyone knew the status of the numbers and anything under 150 was of major concern; around 130 and you were inducted. As the announcer called off the birth-dates and “lottery numbers” I sat on the opposite end of bliss as this was now the reality of my life.
Although I pulled a 213 which supposedly put me in the clear “temporarily”, others were not so lucky, I had several good friends who had to do fairly drastic maneuvers to avoid the draft and prison.
“Temporarily” came up quickly for me; I was summoned via mail to appear for a physical prior to induction. I freaked! I knew this was totally wrong as we were not supposed to be called for anything until we graduated high school and/or turned 19 – I had a couple months to go for both.
If the establishment built a secure system, then we had to find a way over-under-sideways-down and around it; our lives literally depended on it.
So I went to a free draft counselor above the Papa Bach Bookstore on Santa Monica Blvd. We had such a communal bond for our brothers and sisters back then that there was an informed outlet for all of our needs to avoid and conquer the obstacles that were being placed before us without justification on many levels, not just the draft. The counselor told me to write them that I will not show up for the physical as I have a pre-existing (high school football) knee injury – they eventually acknowledged and sent me to a military doctor. But then the counselor went on to also tell me to send them a change of address every three months, as it takes them three months to update their records and at that time another change of address needs to be, er, um, addressed – this creates a never-ending loop wherein they literally can’t reach you. It worked – several years later a letter came for me at my parent’s house (address of origin) with a classification of I-H – “Registrant not currently subject to processing for induction.” I had won – I was officially not part of their war.
The Vietnam war has since been diagnosed and found to be a horrible mistake as General Westmoreland (WasteMoreLand; to us) Commander of the American Forces and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out in a book long after the war had ended and admitted that, and I paraphrase, “the Vietnam war was wrong and we should have never engaged.”
EXPERIENCE THE SENSELESS COST
Lessons of history forgotten are bound to repeat errors of the past
The shock of the ’60’s assassination of President Kennedy and later of historical leaders Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy eroded the U.S morale and the Vietnam War was a constant reminder of our country’s innocence lost. But by January 1970 sixty-six percent, that’s two-thirds of U.S citizens were against the war; as those who formerly opposed, now sided with the Anti-War Movement.
The U.S. Government refers to the senseless death of US soldiers – average age of 19 – as “casualties”. I finally realized that there is no word low enough to describe those who abuse power – like the U.S. Government, the military and right down to local police.
The Government’s soulless utter lack of concern at the continual force-fed death of America’s boys and the continuous absolute horror it caused families across the nation is proven by their cold term, “casualties” – let’s call it what it was; senseless death – (that’s even being too kind – I’d personally go as far as to call it “premeditated murder”):
Senseless deaths of U.S. Soldiers 58,156 (average age; 19),
senseless deaths of 1 million Vietnam military soldiers,
senseless deaths of up to 1/2 million S. Vietnamese civilians,
senseless deaths of up to 65,000 N. Vietnam civilians.
There was nothing ”casual” about this – except for the U.S. Governments attitude toward their disgusting non-value of human lives in general, and specifically of our Nation’s children who grew up believing in their country, right or wrong.
This was an old man’s ego war sending teenagers to fight for them, pure and simple – the draftees were mere pawns. This wasn’t like WWI or WWII where boys/men proudly enlisted because of patriotism, this was a war where they had to force enlistment and the only boys who willingly enlisted were not informed or were under pressure by their “old man” – disgusting and sick.
I showed and truly felt my Patriotism by opposing the historically-proven shamelessly-wrong Vietnam War and all it stood for – and history has proven that I and the 250,000 other teenagers did the right thing – I only wish more had been able to.
There was a great bumper sticker back then, it read “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”
Maybe not in our lifetime, but man, how I’d love to witness that!
EXPERIENCE the FREEDOM and RIGHTS WE HAVE LOST!
2014 is the new 1984!
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING, LISTENING, READING – AND HE’S NO ’60s ROCK BAND!
* * * * THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU WILL EVER READ! * * * *
Happy Fourth of July – enjoy your “independence”.