Stop… Look What’s Going Down!

This past weekend our nostalgia went deeper and wider than just remembering those who died in service to this country. Our thoughts turned to the happenings of the sixties. We tuned our car radio to the sixties… wow!!! With Memorial Day preparation softening our hearts, the music came in to help us remember the stuff we use to sing with… that beat which caused us to dance. Our thoughts returned to a young married couple riding around Norfolk Naval Air Station, Ocean View Beach, and Greensboro in our blue, Rambler American Convertible. We loved that car… ran air in the summer with the top down and heat in the winter with the top down.

I remember standing quarterdeck duty at Armed Forces Staff College…  loved that duty. It sure was plum after standing gate duty at NOB or NAS… cold, wet, hot, dry… we had it all out there. I remember standing duty at Destroyer and Submarine Peers late one night when a sailor’s cab pulled up to the gate. As I approached the cab the sailor leaned out of the back window and threw up… then the cab sped off. What a mess.

I remember the mid-sixties at Parris Island hearing all that good music as we spent our week on KP duty at the Staff NCO Club while all those tests we had been taking were being evaluated. Our days were spent… washing all those dishes and hearing all those songs… and getting prepared to do our duty in Vietnam. Not many of us knew all that much about that place… but we were finding out more than we really wanted to know. As the times went by and 1965 turned into 1968, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the Red Zone sector of the Perimeter at Khe Sanh Combat Base. Late 67 and 68 had its own expressions back home.

Image 5-30-17 at 8.39 PMYou see, back there everyone was saying what Shirley and I were reminded of yesterday listening to the old sixties songs. Buffalo Springfield put out a song back then reminding people that “There’s something happening here… I think it is time we stop… Children, what’s that sound? Everybody look – what’s going down?

“We better stop Now, what’s that sound? Everybody look – what’s going down?” this quote comes from “For what it’s Worth”, a popular single released by Buffalo Springfield in January 1967, this song quickly was known as a “protest song” symbolizing confrontational feelings arising from events during the Vietnam War. Many lyrics from this song have a strong resemblance of events from the war that took place not in Vietnam but in the United States, events like the draft the United States Military had to aid the troops by sending American Citizens to fight in Vietnam. People began protesting the draft and due to the conflict, there had been many reports of incidents between American Citizens and law enforcement nationwide. In relation to those events these lyrics present those conflicts:

“Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away”.

Other than the Draft Americans began demanding the government to bring our troops home:

“what a field day for the heat (Hmm, hmm, hmm)
A thousand people in the street (Hmm, hmm, hmm)
Singing songs and carrying signs (Hmm, hmm, hmm)”.

These lyrics made people think of the many anti-war groups that occupied parks, schools, and streets protesting the war and demanding to bring our troops home and put a end to the fighting going on across seas.

After hearing that song my thoughts were not quite as happy. It weighed me down with the reality of that day. I realize that the protesters probably shortened the war, but I often wonder how many men were killed because the government cut everything after some of these protests… when the politicians decided the war was not one we could win.

The thoughts I have for today is a word of caution for every generation of thinking, caring people. That word is found in this song but with a different view: “Everybody look what is going on.” To me it means that everyone of us should pay attention to everything that is going on in this country and around the world with a supportive, respectful and cautious eye. Remember the past behavior of all politicians and government officials… ask questions… What? Why? When? and Where? When something gives off a foul odor, there just may be a reason. Pay attention to what is going down… look around.

You do not have reason to listen to me… I certainly am not schooled in politics by any stretch… Don’t play that game but do sometimes recognize when I am being conned. I am paying attention because I know how politicians have acted in the past… I know most of them are looking out for themselves… but you should listen to me because I have a grandson who is approaching draft age. I don’t want him in a war because some politician got his feelings hurt or wanted to make some sort of political point. I know you care as much for your children and grandchildren as I do… pay attention… look what is going down… Children, is it time to stop something? Look Around!!!

Grace and Peace
Steve


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