Write Again … Once upon a terrible warPublished 8:18pm Monday, June 10, 2013
The 1960s were, in many ways, a difficult, trying, and often tumultuous time in the life of our country.
The beginning of that decade began — it seemed a new beginning — with the election of a young and charismatic new president. The eloquence of his inaugural address infused most with hope, pride and for many a genuine desire to reach out to those less fortunate, both at home and around the world.
And then — and sadly, tragically in some instances — and then things happened, unfolded, evolved, that made the 1960s a very unsettling time.
There was the assassination of our young president, the murder of the young, articulate, conscience-challenging civil- and human-rights leader, the killing of a young U.S. senator and presidential primary candidate, racial struggles and the war.
That war. That divisive war that left over 58,000 of our mostly young countrymen dead, the loss of thousands upon thousands of other human lives in that faraway land and the near depletion of our national treasury.
This column, however, is not about the “big picture” of those times. No, it’s just about four men who lived during those difficult days.
So, with malice toward none, I continue thus:
The following is true. Factual.
There is no need for me to add any personal opinion. So, let’s leave it at that.
Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, one-time presidential primary candidate, was a “hawk.” Though eligible to serve in the Vietnam War, he took advantage of a student deferment. That was his right.
Former U.S. Rep., Speaker of the House and presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich was a “hawk.” Though eligible to serve in the Vietnam War he took advantage of a student deferment. That was his right.
Former U.S. Rep., Secretary of Defense and Vice President Dick Cheney was a “hawk.” Though eligible to serve in the Vietnam War, he took advantage of a student deferment. That was his right. When questioned about not serving in the military he said that he “had other priorities.”
Former head of the Veterans Administration and U.S. Sen. Max Cleland served as an officer in the military during the Vietnam War.
During the campaign in Georgia when he sought re-election to the Senate, his opponent, Saxby Chamblis, called into question Cleland’s patriotism and commitment to support the military.
Max Cleland has been confined to a wheelchair since being wounded in that terrible war.
He lost both legs and one arm.