October 15, 1969: The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. A Pause for Reflection in a Polarized America.

October 15, 1969: The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. A Pause for Reflection in a Polarized America.

The anniversaries of seminal events that rocked our world fifty years ago are coming hot and heavy this fall. Today, we remember a time when we tried a reasoned strategy to attempt to deal with a generation-defining issue in a country as divided then as we are now.

By the time of the Moratorium, America had been involved in Vietnam, in one way or another, for nearly ten years. Any initial objectives for the war were long gone, the domino theory relegated back to the game it was named after, the war’s progress descended into body counts, the goal now so incrementally small that there was no big picture left or possible. Our defense secretary was telling us that if we killed more Vietnamese than they killed Americans, it was a good week. Period. The Killed in Action Numbers came out on Thursdays.

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Fifty Years Ago Today: When the Whole World Finally Started Watching

Fifty Years Ago Today: When the Whole World Finally Started Watching

They always say that Vietnam was the first war we saw in our living rooms as we watched the nightly TV news. I don’t recall those images as much as I should have, but I absolutely remember the night I watched the war at home—as I sat on the ’60s-splashed orange-flowered couch in the living room—when the police jumped out of the paddy wagon and began beating young people. This was happening in my hometown, only an hour from the suburb where I lived. And I was watching it with my mother—a World War II veteran. It was when the generation gap disappeared for us for a brief moment. It was the first time we agreed in months, and the last time we’d agree, for a long, long time. This was inexcusable. This was not America.

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