NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday December 12th 2017

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Vietnam and Naked Truth

By Peter Molenaar

A good part of our neighborhood gave its attention to THE VIETNAM WAR on public television. For my generation, the series was an edifying reminder of that war’s impact upon our inner-being.

Kent State Massacre, May 4, 1970…

Nixon’s people informed the grief stricken parents: You should be happy your son was killed, he was “just another communist”. Who were these “communists”?

As far as I know, the Communists thought it was wrong to compel working-class youth to war on behalf of capitalists who wanted space for the deindustrialization of our country… thereby smashing our jobs base, our unions, and our wages.

Then later, 1979. In the northeast corner of the Smith Foundry shower room at 1855 E. 28th Street:

I was stark naked with my back to the corner, while an African-American Korean War veteran taunted me. Evidently, the Mai Leis of that war had resurfaced. I asked him: Would you kill a man who had faced down the Klan in Jim Crow Mississippi? My efforts, ten years prior, to register voters in that state wound up saving my butt.

2017, a road trip rendezvous via online dating… exit the Cities on Hwy. 52 south, then exit at Hwy. 56 to discover Wanamingo (pop. 1,086):

Here, the melting glaciers created ravines into which the people drove the buffalo, thousands of years ago. Copper miners to the north received dried meat and processed hides in exchange for their goods. Women ran much of the show and were not abused. Everything was shared.

What name should we call a people who did not require slave holders or capitalists to explain the meaning of freedom?

Further down the road, I would meet my date at the old Hubble Hotel in Mantorville. She had met her once husband in the Philippines, during his R & R from the war. Air Force communications was his expertise. Her first language was a dialect of Tagalog mixed with Spanish.

I spoke of Vietnamese girls running naked down the road, their skin melting away from the effects of napalm. Tears welled in her eyes, yet before parting, she gave me a hug which would not let go.

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