Riots like this take me back to my younger days. It was 1964 and I was a young 20 yr. old sailor attending a Navy school at Mare Island CA (not far from Berkley). A group of us young sailors were talking in the barracks one night. I don’t recall the topic, but I do remember saying “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” As I recall, there was general agreement among us about that statement.
I don’t recall knowing of a far distant country named Vietnam, nor do I recall a war going on over there — I don’t think any of us did. But soon enough, most of us were assigned to destroyers and found our way over to that war where we were faced with possibly having to make good on that cocky statement made in the barracks that night. And 1964 was a scant few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, so our youthful boasting was not done in a safe and protected vacuum like that campus just down the road.
But you know what? I ‘m sure most us believed it then and believe it now and would do the same now if able.
Don Johnson – February 2017