As a young person in the 60’s, I grew up with Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite delivering the nightly news with a reel of video fresh off a plane from Southeast Asia. The reporters lead story always involved jungle battles, wounded soldiers, lots of blood, military talk of targets and “charlie” as the enemy. Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam was our nightly Geography lesson. Amidst gunfire and mortar rounds, soldiers were being interviewed by fearless reporters following military units across the jungles. All this, giving a face to the War in Viet Nam for the people back home.
The second story on the nightly news was usually the Anti War Protests. These protesters had the right idea of sorts. The protests were held at Government Buildings, Recruiting Stations and College Campuses. Signs of “Stop the War”, “Bring Our soldiers Home” and shouts of “Freedom” could be heard in the background of each report. One thing strikes me as I look back on those days. I do not ever recall anyone at a military funeral holding signs of damnation or shouting verbal abuse aimed directly at the parent or spouse of a fallen soldier. Then gleefully proclaiming joy at their loss and expressing God’s Judgement to the dead.
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The protesters of the 60’s perhaps retained some of their humanity in understanding a family’s loss. The protesters chants were from their heart. Only wishing for an end to the daily loss of life. Regardless whether you agree or disagree with the War, burying a loved one should be left as a private time for that broken-hearted family.
Those much wiser than I are of the opinion that local residents could provide a quiet buffer zone between those cold-hearted souls and a soldiers last solemn moment of light. A moment of peace is the least we can do.
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