With the weather being agreeable–chilly but no rain–I took the RTA rapid downtown with the idea of greeting folks streaming toward FirstEnergy Stadium for the Cleveland Browns-Kansas City Chiefs game last Sunday, November 4th. Complementing my peace flag was my 52-year-old U.S. Army field jacket decorated with the six medals pinned to the left breast pocket that the army had awarded me upon my honorable discharge in July, 1968, after serving for a year in Vietnam as a reporter, then editor for the First Infantry Division (“Big Red One” ) newspaper.
Travels With A Peace Flag
Lou Pumphrey writes about his travels with a peace flag, in full dress uniform
A drafted Vietnam veteran (First Infantry Division, 1967-68), Pumphrey is a member of Chapter 39 of Veterans for Peace, based at a Cleveland Heights church. He lives in Shaker Heights.
There was a bit of a dust-up today involving yours truly in uniform and carrying my trusty peace flag. The “battlefield” was behind Cleveland’s iconic West Side Market.
My female adversary strongly contended our military is “protecting our freedom,” while I countered that “the Viet Cong had no interest in taking away our freedom”. She would have nothing of that valid point, again repeating her mantra.
Her position reminded me of that old saying, “I’ve got my mind made up. Don’t bother me with the facts.”
Yep, she got my half-Irish up.
What I should have said is this: “I’m afraid we agree to disagree. If we had not invaded Vietnam, we would still have our freedoms, which are ensconced in the U.S. Constitution and in various statutes. If we had not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq we would still have our freedoms. They are embedded in our laws.
“Rather than the military, those protecting our freedoms are civil rights lawyers throughout the country, particularly those in the employ of the American Civil Liberties Union.”
If such a confrontation arises again, I’ll try to keep the above observations in mind and mention them to folks not of like mind. No guarantee, though. After all, I am half-Irish.