Favorite

The Observer, Aug. 6 

The Observer's friend David Rose, an artist who lives in Hot Springs with wife and two sons, was inspired by the upcoming Woodstock anniversary to muse thusly:

“August marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, an Aquarian Exposition, 3 days of Peace and Music. Woodstock was my home town but, regrettably, I didn't attend the festival at Max Yasgur's farm. At the time I was being entertained by the U.S. Army under house arrest in a WWI era barracks with a panoramic view of the pine barrens of New Jersey.

“If I had been a free man I probably would have gone to the festival just for kicks but by the time the summer of 1969 rolled around I was no longer buying into the idea that love could move the planet.

“1968 had relieved me of such notions.

“In January of ‘68 the Viet Cong launched the Tet offensive. It was a strategic failure for the VC but a public relations success. Middle-aged men who manned the guns during WWII and who now lined the bars in VFW halls across America were still very much pro-war but the American fence sitters, who had been growing less amused by the war for quite some time, lost their taste for it altogether. War protesting was no longer the domain of fringe elements. Things got ugly. The war would drag on for another seven years but without the hearts and minds of anybody I knew.

“In April we had the assassination of Martin Luther King. The freedom marches would continue but without the grace and dignity he brought to the endeavor.

“Robert Kennedy's death in June wiped out any hope that the war would end soon, the generation gap would be bridged and the wounds healed.

“In August the tanks rolled into Prague and put out the lights. A similar thing happened at the Democratic Convention when Mayor Richard Daley sent more than 20,000 uniformed thugs into the streets of Chicago to deal with 10,000 peaceful demonstrators. Overkill would be the opposition's weapon of choice.

“In November we saw the resurrection of Richard Nixon. What good can you say about a man when even his friends don't like him?

“As a fitting end to a perfect shit-storm of a year I was selected in December by the members of my community to serve in the armed forces of the United States. For those not up on the lingo of the era, I was drafted.

“Jupiter aligns with Mars several times a year and the Moon is in the 7th House for about two hours every day and, as far as I could tell, things just got worse as a result.

“And still, history has made much of this festival, this congregation that lent its name to a generation, and perhaps rightfully so. Attention must be paid when half a million people gather in a muddy field for three days. This might be an everyday occurrence in some parts of the world but for America it was unique.

“The '69 festival might have been a dawning to some and to others it was a requiem for innocence lost, but for most of the participants it was probably nothing more than one heck of a party. Sex, drugs and Rock & Roll, that works for me. Today my drug of choice is Extra Strength Tylenol but in all other respects I remain a true believer. Rock on.”

 

About that house arrest. Rose explains:

“The army was having trouble fitting me with boots because I had polio as a kid and my feet are mis-matched. Rather than sending me to basic training without boots they kept me in the reception station in New Jersey while they tried to figure the problem out. While there I talked my way off of permanent KP and into painting war murals.

“After about 6 or 8 months of mural painting somebody noticed I was working peace symbols into the compositions' hub caps, gun sights and whatnot. They wanted to court marshal me but couldn't because I hadn't even been to basic training yet and wasn't completely into the Army.

“They put me under house arrest for a week or two and then broke up two sets of boots and sent me to basic training.”

What a difference a draft makes.

 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in The Observer

  • Snapshots from an execution

    The Observer stood in front of the Governor's Mansion on Monday night in a periodic drizzle, waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether a man would die, not knowing there would be no execution that night.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • The chair

    The Observer's pal and former colleague, a dedicated Deputy Observer, ran across the following piece of writing while cleaning out an online folder to make room for still more of the snippets and starts and literary flotsam and jetsam that seem to pile up around a writer like snowdrifts.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • 8 in 11

    The state of Arkansas is planning on killing eight men soon, one right after the other, in 11 days. They are doing this to punish them for having killed people. The Observer used to be very much a capital punishment believer. But then, we sat through a death penalty trial, start to finish.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation