Thursday, March 27, 2008

Michigan State University – the Vietnam War vs. the War in Iraq and Afghanistan

My forthcoming book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL takes place in the spring of 1970, right after the Kent State National Guard shootings and during Nixon’s two-month incursion into Cambodia. The novel is told from the point of view of four women, one of whom is Sharon Gold.

During the course of the novel Sharon reflects on certain events that took place a year or two earlier when she was Sharon Bloom and a student at Michigan State University.

I graduated from MSU in journalism in 1969 and have not been back since then. Thus it was with anticipation that I looked forward this week to meeting Sarah Blom, the director of development and alumni relations for MSU’s College of Social Science.

My husband Mitch (B.A. and M.A. from MSU) and I enjoyed hearing what’s new on campus since our time. But it was surprising to learn that in the last few days there had been two war-related protests at MSU.

I quickly went on the website of the MSU college newspaper – the State News – where my husband and I both worked during college. (In fact, that’s where we met.) And here were the two stories:

On March 20 – “Hundreds of protesters marched through the MSU campus and clogged East Lansing streets … in protest of the war with Iraq.

On March 25 – “Protesters swarmed the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road … as more than 50 people gathered for a vigil to honor U.S. soldiers who have been killed in the Iraq war.”

It’s almost 40 years since I graduated MSU, and yet history seems to be in a loop, with the same news stories covered by the State News. There’s one main difference, though. Back in the late ‘60s there were protests against the Vietnam War AND against the draft. Now we have an all-volunteer army.

And regardless of what we think of this current war, American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve to be supported by the people back home. When the website for my novel launches in a few days, you’ll be able to learn about supporting some worthwhile organizations that help military personnel and their families. Let’s take care of the people who take care of us!

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