Jan G. Otterstrom F.

Home About Jan Poems Books Order Online Gallery



The 1960s were years of great unrest
emotional, political and artistic turmoil
High School students, lured by recruiter´s
pitch, tank commander, flight deck crew
even Officer School, top military pay.
Fall 1963 was my first year of University
unknown to me Ngo Dinh Diem deposed
C.I.A. assassination driven Coup, Kennedy
Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in communication
coming from class John F. Kennedy just shot
news from Dallas, sketchy, didn’t know
what it meant, excited about soccer, awkward
still around girls, academic nerd for sure
oblivious to an Indochina war, then 1964
Gulf of Tonkin, trumped up Congressional
Resolution to escalate the war, contain
the advance of communism, all of a sudden
I listened, as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez sang
as High School friends went off to war
we went in, where France, wisely feared to tread
their reticence, the better part of valor
good student S-2, I enjoyed a year exemption
by 1967 battle raged, friends in body bags
before the Cong’s ‘68 Tet offensive, unpopular
few volunteered, anger reached tragic levels
in 1970 Kent State, 4 students gunned down
for opposing views by National Guardsmen
but in 1967, Johnson knowing victory was in sight
asked for a draft my lottery number was 167
but married then, I asked for hardship exemption
my Board agreed, fortunately, but some other friend
had to go for me, continuing my studies
I remembered Bobby Kennedy being shot
another cover-up to continue the war until 1973
Paris Peace Accord, Case-Church Amendment
as Saigon fell, everybody hurried to get out of hell.

© Jan G. Otterstrom F November 20, 2014