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A Voyage of Conscience

Dear Rudy,

I know your essay contest is over, but driving to work today, I suddenly realized where I would go if given the chance to go anywhere, anyplace in time: Arizona State University, the fall semester of 1973.

I was 34, a mother and wife to a career Air Force fighter pilot. I was returning to college after dropping out years before. My husband had served in Vietnam, and so had most of our friends and other members of our family. People were still upset about the war, and comments in college classrooms were almost always negative. I had reservations about our country's involvement, so I sat and listened while students and professors railed against the conflict and vilified those who served. I never revealed that my husband was in the Air Force.

If I could return to those classrooms, I would stand up and tell everyone that those who served did not create the war. Those who served hated the war more than civilians could ever begin to imagine. I would tell them that calling the men who fought "baby killers" and "napalm lovers" was wrong and hateful. We have many friends whose names are carved on a black wall in Washington D.C., and they deserved better than my silence.




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