Thanks for that insight, Greg, and for reading the story. The James character is about 12 years older than I was in the summer of 1969, so I wasn’t subject to the draft, thank goodness. I was 6 years old that summer, and I remember well the night when the moon landing was broadcast on national television, and I recall equally vividly the daily footage from Vietnam.
It was at times traumatizing to me. It was the first war to be broadcast almost live into America’s living rooms, and it was much less censored in the 1960s, when there were no standard practices in place yet, than television war footage is now. While George W. Bush prevented news crews from taking pictures of flag-draped coffins of dead soldiers returning from Iraq, I remember grisly images from my early childhood of soldiers being shot in Vietnam, of buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest the war. Of that freak Charles Manson with a swastika carved into his forehead. Of race riots and war protests on the news. It was an unhappy moment in our history, and I see our time starting to resemble it in a variety of ways — not good ways.