Thursday, August 23, 2007
A Branded Generation
Our President spoke of the Viet Nam war, urging that mistakes not be repeated. I remember that time: the friends that never came home, those that did forever changed. That war branded my generation. I remember watching demonstrators storm toward the Chemistry Building where they had been told military research was underway. I knew the truth: there was no such research in that building. My research was there, the study of the structure of certain small molecules important only to other chemists. So I stood in a locked lab and hoped that the mob went elsewhere. It did. Later, I would learn that some of my fellow chemistry graduate students were protestors. I did not understand. How did destroying the work of others help end a war? I do know we did so many things wrong. I had friends that served gallantly, but were not treated as patriots. I had friends who marched against the war. I always seemed to be in the middle. I was not a Christian then, perhaps if I had been, my perspective would have been different. I do not know. These days, I pray for those who fight, and I pray for those that suffer or die. No matter what their name for God.