Jacqueline Clary
Jacqueline Clary

September 19, 2017

A few weeks ago my husband and I attended a discussion with Ken Burns where we saw a preview of his upcoming documentary “Vietnam.”  The crowd, about 800 people, settled as a black-and-white film began with scratches and stutters from now-archaic camera footage.

The soldiers, our soldiers, their soldiers fighting, wounded and dying. Viet Cong and Green Berets. Then riots on our cities’ streets. And protests with hippies and yippies. The smoke on screen floated over the crowd, and we were no longer in a theater. We were in front of our Motorolas, RCA Victors and Philcos. The people on the screen were them, and they were us.

The auditorium, too, miraculously filled with hippies and vets and flower children and protesters. Everyone of us changed. Again. The preview ended quietly. Then as we stood to applaud we shapeshifted back to 2017.

Ken Burns took a seat on the stage and asked the people who served in Vietnam to stand, and at the same time he asked those who protested the war to stand, too. Most of us stood. Then he said, “Give yourselves a hand.” We did.

We had no idea which side we fought (were) on. But, inherently, we shared a past.

Those were divisive times much like now. Maybe that’s why the Carroll High Class of 1967 has never had a class reunion. We were divisive. We were pulled apart. Maybe that’s why now after 50 long years we, well a lot of us, are trying to get together, probably, let’s face it, this one time. We inherently share a past.  

We started elementary school when school wide polio inoculations were in fashion. And Pat Boone wore white buck shoes.

We learned to duck and cover.

Later we saw the first Catholic president elected. We saw him assassinated. We saw Martin Luther King lead the March on Selma. Eventually we saw him assassinated. We watched Alan Shepard Jr take America’s first space flight. We fell out of love with Elvis and fell in love with the Beatles. We saw our brothers and friends go to war in Vietnam.  We saw most, not enough, come back. We grew up. We moved on.

It would be great to see as many people as possible from our class come to the reunion. Let’s give ourselves a hand. We shared a past. Those interested in attending reunion events during Carroll High School’s homecoming weekend, Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1, can contact Denny Wilkins, class president, at wilk56den@msn.com.