• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Donald i. Jensen
Askov, MN, USA

In 1969-70 I was the director of a college student union building in Moorhead, Mn. One friday night, I spent most of the night helping to find housing for a large group of students from all over the mid-west who were conducting a demonstration against the war the next day (Saturday) at the Peace Gardens in North Dakota. However, on that saturday morning, as a member of the North Dakota National Guard, I was placed on alert to "defend" the Peace Gardens from the demonstrators should that become necessary. The emotional conflict I felt at that time caused me to understand the absurdity of conflict and the emotional damage it was causing to everyone involved.

Three years later while working at a community college on Cape Cod, I got to know a number of Viet Nam Vets. One who stands out was a gifted writer, by the name of John O'Neill. The last I heard of him, he was hospitalized in New Jersey as a result of the emotional scars of Viet Nam. This is one of his poems, which to my knowledge was never published:

When I was younger, I played war often,
Until noon.
The I invited the dead and dying from both sides home for soup and sandwiches.
When I was older, I played for keeps,
And often ate alone.

Back to scrapbook index


 ©2018 American Public Media