Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Veterans for Peace


Today in class we were honored to have to members of the Veterans for Peace organization join us about their experience in the military. Ms Groebner contacted the non-partisan speakers to share their experiences and choices they made during the 1960’s while the country was recruiting soldiers during our armed conflict in Vietnam.

Their message was simple. They cautioned our graduating seniors against the dangers of racism that had been instilled in them during basic training and spoke about the danger of not having an action plan after graduation from high school.

Impressed by the positive culture that exudes from each student and faculty member as you walk through the halls of the building, Dayl Wise (Speaker) said, “I arrived here early and I was totally impressed, not only with the school’s physical environment, but with the attitude of the student body... you can tell that there is something special going on here.” Dayl has spoke at numerous high schools throughout the country and clearly has a solid basis for comparison.

Ms. Grantz, Mr. Shatz, Mr. Eddelson, Mr. Brown, and Ms, Groebner would like to extend a warm thanks to Dayl Wise and Jim Murphy for coming to our school and sharing their experiences with a (Montessori and Friere) Participation in Government class. I persoanlly would like to thank Ruth for once agian providing such a rich educational environment in my classroom.

Check out pics from class in thsi brief video : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4264646037143288688

Guiding Questions for comments:

  1. After listening to the speakers, how did you come to understand their reasons for joining the military?
  2. What actions must seniors take to avoid letting others make choices for us?
  3. What is your plan after high school?
  4. What role does racism play when war is involved?
  5. When Michael Z asked, “Did war make you a better person? What was Jim Murphy’s response?
  6. Dayl spoke briefly about the “stare of a little girl” as he took a shortcut through her house; how did this affect him?
  7. Please fell free to ask more questions.

15 comments:

Superfly said...

Maybe this is a stupid question, but I didn't get a chance to speak with the two gentlemen this morning, why did they say "in country" when speaking about being in Vietnam and Cambodia? Not in "the" county or "their" country or just in Vietnam or Cambodia? Maybe that has something to do with trying to think less of the people as a whole in order to feel better about murdering them...? Or maybe I'm just over-analyzing.

Also, I don't think that Zilber's question was really appropriate. "Do you think war made you a "better" person?" It is worded very strangely. Of course being in war, actually being the cause of death to other human beings is going to change someone, make them a "different" person, but I can't believe that it can make them better in any way.

Again, thank you to the gentlemen for visiting us and imparting their knowledge. It was quite an experience for someone like me, who sits home all afternoon and all evening reading things in the newspaper and on the internet, to physically be in the same room with people who have experienced such things and hear them speak. The beards were also a treat!

~joanna vogel

Jim Murphy said...

"In Country" - I wasn't sure of the roots of this term... I've just always said it. One definition calls it a Vietnam era idiom simply describing the period that one was in Vietnam during the war... as opposed to being in the theatre or offshore in the navy.

I think every one of us... students, teachers etc. will face certain negative challenges in our lives. How we are effected by these challenges, I think, is determined by a will... a learned desire to do the right thing. I was extremely fortunate to find the support I needed from other vets, family, friends... and I came to understand what had happened to me and to my brothers that had been to Nam. For many guys... this never happened... over 200,000 guys died after they came home... suicides, O.D.s and simply unhealthy lifestyes and high risk behaviors. (Note: The original Hell's Angels were World War II combat vets). Black brothers that had been heroes in Vietnam came home to worse racism than before... they were even more feared and therefore oppressed even more... seen as a threat.
I was simply lucky, but I thank my mom's guidance from childhood as the biggest factor.
We all became 'different'.... Part of our passion for speaking out against recruiters has to with knowing what the young people coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan will have to suffer through... due to a war based on lies.

Thanks you for having us in today... it was our pleasure... Jim

Giovann said...

The veterans that came into the high school that i attend to i was not able to present that day. The blog that i read it gave me a good idea in what they were talking about. I didnt really understand their reason for joining the armed forces but i can really compare to one of their reason because i have a friend that was in the marines. I think the reason they joined was probably they saw the military as another option for them in life or they must of thought that was going to give them a good future also give them more oppurtunities for jobs. From what my friend that was in the marines thats was one of the reasons why he joined the marines. Thats my guess in why the veterans joined the armed forces.
In life there are alot of actions you must take and also avoid because that isnt the direction you want to be heading to. Dont let others tell you what to do, if you feel like someones telling you something that has you intrested in sit back, relax, and think about how is this offer going to benefit you in the future? Is this going to support me? Am i going to be able to wake up every mourning and be happy in what i do? Thats why when someone tells you do something to let them make the choice for you just take the time aside for your self and focus what you really want, you run your own life not others.
My plans after high school is honestly experiencing life, living it, going to school, meeting people not for relationships [[meeting people is always good, because they can open doors for you. Its called "connections"]] studying in college getting my degree in a 4year college then studying some more getting more degrees, working in entertainment industry, and come up with a company and products where it change the whole life style of someones life but in a good way. We'll see because im still young, but thats the direction im heading too.
Thats one thing about war that i hate "racism". When war is around racism increases, let me use my self for example. Imagine South America and India in a war indian people would look at latinos differently and latinos would look at indians differently. Another racism is religion because if your from some religion during that war your going to be judged. Thats what i dont like about war.

Don't Panic said...

I agree with what Joanna has said about Zilber's question. I think however other things will make life "better" in a way anyway, what I mean is that you will appreciate more in life such as breathing and simply living, which is what we take for granted. I was shocked to hear that they prepped our soldiers by making them to refer to our "enemy" with racial names, in order for there to be hate and not compassion. I guess it is useful in times of war I never thought it was so. I too would like to say thank you to the gentlemen who came and told us what needs to be said, and for once we found someone to be totally blunt with us. So again thank you
Michelle Asciote

christine mullen said...

1.After listening to the guest speakers I came to understand that it didn’t seem as if they had much of a choice neither one of them wanted to go it was more a punishment that was thrown at them for not doing what they had to do in school.

2.I feel as a senior in high school we have to work twice as hard to be heard just because we are younger. And as younger people we already have a thousand people just waiting to control our life. So we must stay active and in a positive way.

3.My plan after high school is to go straight to college for four years and earn the degree that I want and start my career.

4.I feel racism is what they feed you to make you as crazy as they need you to be. I feel people that are racist are also ruthless to be holding on to something for this long. Now when you become ruthless then you can prepare yourself for the killing they need you to do and you become that ruthless person.

5.I remember jim saying that it made him a different person.

6.I feel the memory of that little girl is burned into him forever I think it just made him look at her as an ancient little girl and I think that made him really come to realize what they were doing to her people. I also feel it changed him as a man because a girl that young should not be able to intimidate a grown man. Unless he feels inferior to her because he knows his is doing something wrong and feeling guilty about it

7.I am just wondering how long it took for them to start living a normal life style?

vishnell said...

First of all I really liked both the speakers. Especially for someone like me it takes a lot to catch my attention and the speakers did do that. From hearing both these men talk I realized they joined the military not knowing the great effect it would have on them. When one of my classmates asked if war made them better people they told us how war didn’t make them any better but made them different people. They told us how they would no longer be like everyone else because everyday they would hold pieces of what they had to go through with them and people who weren’t in war couldn’t relate to the images they could see.

One thing that Jim Murphy and Dayl Wise both talked about was the racism. It was really mean and the words they used were awful. Racism was pretty big during the wars and the words they used to hurt one another were really powerful. They had different groups such as the blacks, whites, and mixed. It was easier to not like someone because of the names they put in your head about other people because of their race. Both speakers shared their personal stories. I like how Dayl also talked about not just the race issue but about his height and how he stood out. Before the war he even told us how he stayed away from fights and was more of the class clown because he was a little guy. So when he joined the military he was put in front like the “radio man” where he had to hold the radio which is extra weight with no questions asked. So it helps you see if you were lucky or not with how you looked which included your color, shape and size.

I really loved what Dayl had said about the little girl. I could just picture him during that time running into this house to try to get out through the back for a shortcut and the whole family to the side but the little girl standing in front of his face. I can only imagine how he felt as a man and seeing a little girl who was strong enough to think she could over power him and she did. I guess its things like that, that really touch you and that’s the reason he decided to walk out. He said he carries an image of her all the time, remembers her face and hopes she lived through that time. I see it really affected him because this little girl gave him a look as if he wasn’t going to hurt her, she stood up strong and this really hit him hard which is the reason he still remembers her today.

zohra said...

I appreciated the war veterans coming into class on Wednesday and enlightening the class about the experience of a real war. I think that it opened up my eyes about how false advertising and promoting can be such a problem, even within the government . When Mr. Dayl told us about the war recruiter who showed him nice pictures of places to work in the army and a job that would require him to be in a “nice clean lab, with clean floors and high technology equipment …for the 60’s”, it was pretty funny that they were trying to bribe him in joining because its not that bad as it looks, or from what they are showing him. When he had gotten in to the army, it was nothing near close to what the pictures were falsely showing. I think that its sad that high school students who aren’t on the right track or slipping in-between the cracks at school are targeted when army recruiters are on the prowl. I agree with Christine when she said “I feel as a senior in high school we have to work twice as hard to be heard just because we are younger. And as younger people we already have a thousand people just waiting to control our life. So we must stay active and in a positive way.”, I think that this is true, young teenagers are about to take a huge step into the world, and they don’t need people graveling that they are young and easy to mold into what they are looking for. We shouldn’t be vulnerable, but we should be heard and respected instead of stepped all over by the government. If the government thinks they can target the younger crowd by flaunting materialistic things in front of teens faces such as picking them up in hummers, and trying to buy and be their friends, also trying to give them a free ride in college, after they served. Who would want to go to the college of their dreams on a free ride after experiencing a harsh and stressful competitive lifestyle, and enter an even more rigorous and demanding settting in college. Student are the ones who are most likely to join the army because of the “many” opportunities they promise… after you serve your time. With making promises of college and money you can only take so much, after you’ve experienced a life altering decision. I understand why Mr. Dayl joined the army, because it probably was his best bet to stay on the right track. I felt bad that Jim Murphy was drafted into the army because he didn’t get to make his own decision. I think that things happen for a reason and they were bound to end up where they did and luckily come home safe. I think that the stories that they shared were powerful and an eye opener. I felt so touched when Mr. Dayl talked about the little girl’s presence who made him powerless. I think that when people like that who get caught up in war and were trained for war, forget things they learn from home and being a normal human being. When that girl came along, I think it provoked human nature of being respectful of the little girl and feeling embarrassed that they were acting in such a intruding manor. When the war veterans were talking about basic training, and the tactics they used to train soldiers, I found it so evil. I didn’t like hearing that they used racism to make people fight better and plant seeds of hate into people who were perfectly normal. I think that the war veterans were successful in showing us the

zilber says said...

The Vietnam war veterans who visited our class this week were very concentrated on all the obvious horrors of war. They did a great job telling us what horrid sites would flash vividly in our minds and how insignificant we would feel to this country when were out there. The bottom line is that wars need to be fought. That’s the way the world turns and that’s the only way it ever will. After their speech the thing that stood out most to me was that, “Part of our passion for speaking out against recruiters has to with knowing what the young people coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan will have to suffer through... due to a war based on lies.”, said Jim Murphy. My opinion strongly differs from that because people who get sent away to war will always suffer in one way or another, it has nothing to do with a “war based on lies”. The wars we fight are in the best current interest of our people and economy. If people are dying some where its for a cause and no matter how wrong the cause is for example, fighting for oil, which seems to be the “lie” this war is based on, then let it be, because in a hundred years from now when the world is really running low on oil and we don’t have the knowledge to survive without it, who’s going to be better off? The America who fought back and made them pay, or the America that sat back and let terrorists walk through its own borders.

W Brown said...

Michael,

Thank you for bringing some levity to the conversation. You are always able to show us the "other-side" of the arguement with a great sense of articulation. Our class this year is better because of your comments.

~RitaMarie~ said...

I was amazed at the stories that each of these men had, more specifically the detail in the story of the girl. I do however agree with the point that Samantha brought up in class in reguards to Michael's question being a bit inappropriate in that it could have been worded a little better. I mean obviously there is a possibility that they could have killed someone but as they stated, they were taught to think as if the "enemy" was inferior to them which means that even if they killed someone, at the time they probably felt as if it was an accomplishment OR were too proud to care. In a way what the question was asking them to do is recall a clearly painful moment that they don't regret but aren't in anyway proud of and explain it. What concern is it of ours whether or not they killed someone? It was a war, people did die so if they didn't kill the casualties, someone else did and it is unfair of us to make them account for something that they have a different perspective on now.

Q said...

Zilber... you make me dig deep to respond... so whatever I say is just the surface of what is 'my opinion' based on my experiences -

"The bottom line is that wars need to be fought. That’s the way the world turns and that’s the only way it ever will...." {is this all there is?... we will not survive much longer with this philosophy as the tools of war will not allow survival (unlass global warming gets us first - don't ever assume that we can adapt as we don't have a clue about even the microbes that will evolve given greenhouse gas effects... the polar bears are fresh meat... good as gone...)

My opinion strongly differs from that because people who get sent away to war will always suffer in one way or another
(AND IT'S THE POOR AND LOWER MIDDLE CLASS THAT GOES),

it has nothing to do with a “war based on lies”. The wars we fight are in the best current interest of our people
(IF 'OUR PEOPLE' REFERS TO THE TOP 2% OF OUR POPULATION - THE REST OF US WILL LOSE $$BILLIONS(OR OVER A TRILLION) FOR HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION AND THE SOCIAL SECURITY FUND HAS BEEN USED TO FINANCE DEFICITS SINCE THE REAGAN TAX CUTS)

and economy. If people are dying some where its for a cause and no matter how wrong the cause is for example, fighting for oil, which seems to be the “lie” this war is based on, then let it be, because in a hundred years from now when the world is really running low on oil and we don’t have the knowledge to survive without it,(ZILBER- YOU BECOME THE RESEARCHER THAT DEVELOPS ALTERNATIVE FUELS, SOLAR POWER ETC. AND YOU'LL BE ENRICHED)
who’s going to be better off? The America who fought back and made them pay,
(WHY ARE INNOCENT IRAQI KIDS AND KIDS FROM YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD THE REAL PEOPLE WHO PAY)
or the America that sat back and let terrorists walk through its own borders.
(IF I KILL YOUR FAMILY AND DESTROY YOUR VILLAGE WILL I BELIEVE YOU WHEN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DEMOCRACY OR WILL YOU HAVE CREATED A 'TERRORIST'... INCIDENTALLY, SKINHEAD GROUPS ARE JOINING THE ARMY AND CORPS IN RECORD NUMBERS... REMEMBER OKLAHOMA CITY? THE TERRORISTS MAY BE HERE ALREADY...
HOPEFULLY TO BE CONTINUED...
In Peace, Jim

Sam said...

I loved having the Veterans for peace in the classroom! I think we should make 'Students for peace' and join together with them and stage a ridiculously large mass protest!

It seemed that their reasons for joining were due to either being drafted & not trying all that much in high school or college. I mean, the 60's are SO incredibly different from today. The veterans said that college wasn't necessarily a must like today, and if you didn't do well in highschool, your only other option was to become a teacher or join the military. I am definitely NOT signing up anytime soon, I'm perfectly happy to teach.

I was shocked to find out how much racism played a part in war. I'd never really thought about it before, or noticed (which upsets me). Thinking back on it, it makes a lot of sense. You can't kill anyone without being utterly convinced that they are so far below you that they deserve to die. And I'm sure its an aweful thing to have to live with knowing sometimes.

The story about the little girl who stared down Dayl Wise made me smile. Even during a time of war, a little girl was able to humanize a soldier without having to speak. I'm sure it was a humanizing experience for him too.


I also want to say something about Christine's 7th point. "7.I am just wondering how long it took for them to start living a normal life style?"

It seems to me, they never really did.

Superfly said...

Michael Zilber. Oh no no no no no. What did you mean by "an America that fought back"? Against Iraq?? Are you trying to allude to some alleged connection between Iraq and terrorism? I think that was the lie everyone was referring to: that the 9/11 terrorism was directly connected to Iraq and Hussein, which is what Mr. Bush has always said.

Secondly, for what cause are we fighting? Why are we murdering thousands of Iraqi civilians? And please don't go on about that "all's fair in love and war" type answer. You can do better than that.

Thirdly, "wars need to be fought". I agree, some wars do need to be fought, after conversations and all other alternatives have been exhausted and there is a direct imminent threat to our safely as a nation. Where was that threat? And speak specifically in terms of the war that we're talking about, a broad general statement like "wars need to be fought" really doesn't apply here.

Lastly, was this war in our best interest, as you said? We are already buried in the largest deficit this country has seen and we've committed ourselves to a war that is costing us billions of dollars. Again, where is the cause? And, this is a general question, why is Mr. Bush not being impeached? Guantanamo and other "detention centers" are clearly violating every section of the Geneva Conventions and yet we're just allowed to torture people to death without consequences. I would like to use an expletive in the following question but; what the H, man???

And you even admitted that our cause is wrong. I don't understand your logic. And we do have, or will have in the immediate future, as that engineer man told us on Thursday, hydrogen technology as an alternative to fossil fuels. We also have automobiles that run on cooking oils as well as (well, mostly in Kansas and the corn belt right now) gas stations that pump ethanol and cars that run on ethanol, which is made from corn. Solar power is also a major resource for powering and heating houses and such so, if all you're worried about is a lack of oil or the price of oil, then do as Mr. Murphy said and become a scientist and make some alternative fuels. Is oil worth murder?

Which weighs more: blood or oil?

~joanna vogel

kaitlyn said...

I wasn't sure what to expect when the vets takled to us because I had heard many stories about the vietnam war but I didn't live through it. I think that with the iraq war we are being sheilded from the horrific events that happen everyday, but during the vietnam war everyday people say what was going on and things were as secretive. Ms Grantz said that she saw coffins everyday on the news, which we would never see today. I don't think that people really weigh the emotional effects of being in a war when they sign up. The vets that talked to us clearly still had scares from what they saw and veitnam happened 30 years ago. Sam said that she didn't now the level or hatred and racism that goes into training for war and neither did I. I wonder if when soldiers come back from war they still have the racist thoughts in their heads that they learned in training toward everyday people. I guess, like sam said, that you really need to hate someone to kill them and racism is one of the easiest ways to hate another person. I think it's scary that they have to use racism to help get soldiers in the mindset of war.
When both the men were talking I realized that they didn't seem to have a plan with what they were going to do with their lives. I think that there are so many people who enter the army today becaues they don't have a plan and that's not right. I don't think that the army has to become a last resort for people to do something with their lives. As much as I want to say that war is never the answer for anything I think it's something that has occured for hundreds of years and becuase people know that it's happened previously they believe that its ok for it to happen again. If that makes any sense.

Stephanie said...

I was quite taken back when the veterns came into our school and talked to us about the memories and stories they had about war. And i do agree with several people when they talked about the question asked by Mike but in a way i do fell bad that every-one was "jumping down his throat about it. I mean c'mon every1 askes questions now about war whether they be stupid or not. But in any event, I do thank the Vets for coming all the way to our school and I truthfully hope that maybe they can come back for more than an hour and just talk to us more because i truthfully think they are very aspiring individuals and amzing men at that..Thank You Mr. Murphey and Mr Wise. You are truly amazing. God Bless You and your family!