It was 1966.
I was a freshman in college.
He was a friend of a friend,
a recent graduate with a
degree in accounting,
heading to Vietnam as part
of an Army artillery battalion.

I toted my books from class to class
day after day.
He put his ledgers aside
manning machine guns,
mortars and howitzers.

I retired to the comfort of an
air conditioned dorm room.
He sweat buckets in the jungle 24/7.

I bemoaned dorm food.
He ate C rations.

I penned letters on crisp stationary.
He scribbled on scraps of paper
in pencil, as pens were rendered
useless by unrelenting heat and humidity.

I fell into a safe, cozy bed at night.
He wondered if he would see the morning.

I was immature and self-absorbed.
He exemplified dedication, service and sacrifice.

I was a link to normalcy and home.
He was a glimpse into the chaos of war.

I went on to graduate school.
He resumed civilian life in Iowa.

A call came years later, just to say hello.
Pen pals still connected.


Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge:  Connections

Four Dead In Ohio

Lyrics by Patricia J. Griffin & Robert Plant
Performed by Neil Young
Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tension was palpable on the campus of the
University of Missouri in the spring of 1970.

With Nixon’s decision on April 30th to invade
Cambodia, protests against the Vietnam War
accelerated nationwide.

The Kent State Massacre on May 4, 1970, in
which unarmed college students were fired
upon by the Ohio National Guard, killed four
students and wounded nine others.

Outrage reached a feverish pitch, in turn
sparking a nationwide student strike.

In an unprecedented move, the University of
Missouri cancelled final exams, sending
students home early and putting a lid on the
situation before heretofore peaceful demon-
strations could turn violent.

Graduation ceremonies, scheduled to be held in
the football stadium, were relocated due to rain.

Rather than sit in an auditorium and view the
ceremonies via closed-circuit TV, which seemed
anticlimactic, I returned my unused cap and gown
to the book store and headed on down the road
to begin the next chapter of my life.

4 Dead In O-HI-O



On Monday, May 1, 2017, a total of 650 Vietnam
veterans from Nebraska boarded four jets as part
of an Honor Flight to Washington DC to tour the
nation’s war memorials and monuments.

Upon their return to the Lincoln airport that same
evening, they were greeted by thousands of waving
flags and wall to wall cheers.

This is in stark contrast to forty plus years ago, when
the majority of returning Vietnam veterans received
no welcome at all or jeers.

It’s about time.