Sendoff

"I WILL NOT SERVE." Chuck, you can't be serious: giving up five or maybe ten years just because you won't give one.

"Norm, there's killing on the other end, and a lot of it."

High above the entrance to the Bay, Golden Gate Recreation Area is a great place to watch ships head out to sea. I think I actually said and you know it'll be the time of your life. Across the bridge is the Presidio with its glowing rows of military graves, an orderly abstraction of war.

"It's not a game any more, Norm. I'm not running north or south. Because I can take it, jail, and maybe even should take it if we ever get the chance to call government on the carpet for this one!"

Chuck saw me off the day I was shipped out. He was on his way to the draft board to burn his card in the company of a bunch of peaceniks. He would be arrested for it. Vandalism of government property. And then tried for the graver offence of evasion, which in the heat of the moment at home was practically interpreted as treason.

Too many fathers walking around adamant about seeing their sons bleed like they themselves did in Korea or World War II, too few ever venturing to question the relative rightness of this war*--war at all. You wonder: is this pathetic, pure ignorance, that my parents are willing to swallow so obeisantly the mandate for genocide handed down from some grim, grizzly government? Or is it the kids who don't understand? The ones who assent and go for fear, piteous pride, adventure; as much as the ones who resist, never to know the conditions of an unrighteous fight?



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