Americans who had known the reason for WWII called for conservative patriotism, conformity, and haircuts as even greater numbers of young Americans and Vietnamese were being slaughtered in our senseless Southeast Asian war. Dead bodies were strewn across the nightly news because freedom of the press was not squashed by executive order. Peter Arnett's famous editorial quote, "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it," helped drive home a need for an end to the folly of death.
Thirty-eight years ago this month, the Kent State slaughter killed four students wounding nine others. Hundreds of campuses closed due to angry student strikes and protests. The youthful innocence that had been drafted to kill overseas was at war with the American establishment. Every college and high school campus resonated with student strikes, dissent, and chants for peace now. Young America flexed its muscle with fortitude in a single-minded cause even as thousands and thousands of their numbers were being drafted to kill the enemy. It was no more tumultuous than today's Iraq war, but since there is no draft, today only a few are hitting the streets.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono's week-long honeymoon bed-in produced the infamous plea to "give peace a chance." The world has yet to follow that sensible call, although at Christmastime we hypocritically wish it upon civilization. The free spirited rebels abhorred mendacity. Sixties' youth practiced a sexual, societal, and cultural openness that celebrated their free spirit honestly instead of constraining them with a life lived with lies and half-truths.
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