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Early Writing

The War We Never Supported

A small man walks up a hill to a dark country house. As he comes up the walk, a woman emerges from the shadows of the doorway. The man hands her a wrinkled letter. She runs into the kitchen when she sees the return address of the State department. The letter reads in a very dry tone, "We regret to inform you that your son died in action in Vietnam." The woman bends over the table and cries.

A paper boy zigzags down the street on his bike, as a mailman climbs to the door of an average brick home in a suburb of a large city. The woman forces herself to the mail box and grasps two bills and a neatly sealed letter. The woman disappears inside the house. The paper hits the porch as the paperboy peddles away. A cry of disbelief echoes from one room of the house. Through her tears she reads, "We regret to inform you that your son has died in action in Vietnam."

A special messenger runs to the elevator of a large hotel in New York. He presses the penthouse button on the elevator wall. The force of the elevator rising so fast makes the messenger feel sick. The door opens and he walks to the door of the penthouse. He rings the bell of the smooth door. A woman answers the door and takes the telegram, which is damp with sweat. She turns and falls onto the floor. Near her hand is the telegram. The letters of the sentence stands out from the wall-to-wall carpet, "We regret to inform you that your son has died in action in Vietnam." The elevator moves down to the first floor.

As the messenger gets off, two men get on and one says, "What we need over there Charlie is more men, more bombs, that will do it."

Dwight C. Douglas

First Published in Projection Magazine, December 1969

Point Park College (University), Pittsburgh, PA

(This first appeared in Projection magazine at Point Park College May, 1970. It was written a few days after the Kent State Killings May 4, 1970)

Save the country

I'm getting just a little sick of being called a communist, just because I think our Government is doing something wrong. I'm tired of the promises, "We will be out in six months." I can vote now, but will my ballot crush the millions who back this country's "murder-machine"?

The National Guard was totally wrong for doing what they did at Kent state. Nixon is wrong for marching his troops into Cambodia. And we are just as wrong if we sit back and sip our sodas in our soft chairs.

If this magazine [Projection] does anything, let it be to ask you one question. Who is going to be blamed for the killings in Ohio, Vietnam and Cambodia? Perhaps the world will look to you and ask, "What were you doing when your country was killing for peace and destroying the right to speak?"

I hope you don't have to answer, "Oh I was playing cards in the snack bar at college," or "I was firing a cap pistol out of a dormitory window." Or maybe you'll be saying, "I was standing on a bridge, ready to physically destroy people who were protesting for justice and peace."

I will compare the Kent state dead to those Bostonian children who were cut-down by gunfire for throwing snowballs. The snowballs of today are melting because of America's apathy and unawareness. They are being replaced by weapons which will not melt.

And if you, the student, faculty member, or administrator, do not find the way to cool the rising dissent and help channel this dissent into intelligent and peaceful change, we will all find ourselves face-first in a pool of blood.

Where am I going with this rap? My conclusion is much like my beginning. I see Point Park College as the government of this country. I'm tired of seeing all the wrongs committed. I'm sick of unfair, unintelligent and unethical decisions. I'm depressed in the middle of all the killing and bigotry. I'm not a child of Hitler, Mr. Blum. I'm not a communist, mother. And I'm not a god, Mr. Bertrand Russell.

Dwight C. Douglas