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Larry Clark, Vietnam era veteran
Van Alstyne, TX, USA

The day I got orders for Shemya Air Force Station on the end of the Aleutian Chain, a friend got orders for Da Nang. I was relieved to not have to go. I don't know what happened to him.

On Shemya, the news was exclusively Armed Forces Radio and the Air Force Times, so I was in the dark about the protest forces gathering strength in the lower 48. I had a personal stake in wanting the war to end, but even after I took discharge in 1967, I was opposed to our involvement over there, and joined in with the protests.

One of the things I think you left out of your perspective, was the impact of anti-war music of the era. From Pete Seeger, to Bob Dylan, to Peter, Paul and Mary, to Creedence Clearwater's "Fortunate Son" this music had a real impact on me and a lot of the people I knew.

I regret to say that I voted for that lying bastard Richard Nixon in 1968, the first year I was eligible to vote, solely because he promised to end the war. If Bobby Kennedy had not been killed, he most certainly would have been the Democratic nominee, and I would have voted for him instead. Hubert simply would not disassociate himself from LBJ's war. If he had, the riot outside the convention would not have happened, because protest would not have been necessary nor appropriate.

Instead of ending the war quickly as promised, Nixon escalated it and lied about what he was doing. When it did end, it ended under worse conditions than he could have gotten from North Vietnam on his first inauguration day. I can't think how it could have ended under worse conditions than it did. Sadly, Humphry probably would have ended it and of course, Watergate would now just be an obscure office and residence building in Washington.

I have never since voted for a Republican in a presidential election. I doubt I ever will. That is a part of my legacy from the war. It scarred a lot of people who never fought over there, and tore families apart. History will judge it a failure and a waste of life.

Larry Clark

P.S. One of those who wrote in said that he would forgive Jane Fonda when the Jews forgave Hitler. I'll forgive Richard Nixon on that same day.


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