My effort to promote peace Tuesday evening got off to a pleasant, wry start on East Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland while heading to The Jake–er, I mean Progressive Field- to greet drivers and pedestrians on their way to the match-up between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians–the Battle of Ohio. Of course I was wearing my rather tight 51-year-old U.S. Army dress uniform and carrying my peace flag.
I was stopped by a man who, after seeing me walk by an outdoor table of a restaurant, ran up to me. He appreciated very much my peace message. I asked if he also is a Vietnam veteran and he answered in the affirmative. I asked what year he was there. When he indicated it was the early ’70s I said, “Aw, you missed out on the Tet Offensive” (Jan-Feb, 1968). He said, “Yeah, but we still saw plenty of action.” He was in the army’s Signal Corps, in the Mekong Delta. I elaborated on the intentions of my presence, saying, “We need much more peace, civility, tolerance, mutual respect and compassion in our society. They’ve been in short supply the last few years.” He smiled and said, “Since 2016?” I too smiled, as each of us knew what the other was thinking. “Yeah,” I said. “Funny coincidence…it began with the Trump campaign.”