Monday, September 9, 2013
Deja Vu All Over Again
As the VU Centennial Class comes back to campus, some themes continue to re-occur. When we were students many of the major daily news stories of the time revolved around the use of American military power in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Now as we return to Vanderbilt 40 years later, there is a similar debate over the nation's possible military involvement in Syria.
Personally, I remember working for WRVU and covering the local teach-ins and other demonstrations held that day. I also remember how excited we were to supplement our coverage with a new UPI wire machine. We had just installed it that day right outside our news room in the south tower of Neely Auditorium where WRVU had its studios.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, Vanderbilt Chancellor Alexander Heard was asked by President Richsrd Nixon to be his Special Advisor on Campus Affairs. One reason he was likely tapped by the President was the great reputation the Chacellor had built in terms of building positive satudent relationships at Vanderbilt. It's also likely one reason our campus remained peaceful at the time was due to the "open forum" policy of the Chancellor and the adminstration in which students felt their voices were being heard (both anti and pro-war) through such activities as the Speak-Outs on Rand Terrace......
As we all know, ultimately, Communist North Vietnam took over the country. But that came two years after American troops left and after our Prisoners Of War came home. Here's that emotional news coverage by ABC when the first POWS were released on February 12,1973.....
So while many things have changed in this world, in this country, in Nashville and at Vandebilt since we went to school together over four decades ago, the debate over the use of American military force continues.