Since today is my Father’s birthday, I thought I’d share a brief story about one of his experiences 40 years ago, and how learning about this experience contributed to my perspective today.
On November 15, 1969, my Father was in Washington DC for what is still the single largest anti-war protest in American history to date — the second Moratorium against the Vietnam War, in which it has been estimated that between 250,000 and 750,000 citizens arrived to demonstrate in the nation’s capital. As a lieutenant commander in the United States Public Health Service, my Father was volunteering on site at a medical van as part of an emergency response team. He helped treat several patients who were suffering from burns and injuries when police tear gassed a group of demonstrators who protested violently later on during the day. In fact, he even suffered eye burns of his own from the tear gas, simply by being in the vicinity where police and demonstrators clashed.