Catching Up Day! | Freyne Land

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Catching Up Day!

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2007 at 12:03 PM

The rain is perfect for it.

Bills to pay. Grocery shopping. You know the drill.

But I did want to share with you my little visit Saturday to the Vermont Vietnam Veterans Memorial along the interstate in Sharon. I was coming back from the Impeachment Town Meeting Congressman Peter Welch held in the Hartland High School Gym. Driving northbound along Interstate 89, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway.

The Sharon Interstate Memorial has been ugraded considerably over theyears and if you haven't stopped by you've been missing something.

That's Arthur M. Hammond Jr. of Bethel, a transportation worker,sweeping up on the right, and some local college students who stopped offon the left. Arthur also served in Vietnam with the Air Force, doingoxygen work on the big jets (1968-72).

I confess. I haven't stopped there in almost 25 years. That's when I covered the memorial's official opening for the late, great Vanguard Press. The Vietnam War is a tender subject. A friend lost, several wounded and a government that lied. Ours.

My last stop was October 30, 1982. No cell phones. No email. No laptops. The White House of that day, having learned nothing from Vietnam, was backing right-wing guerrillas and military juntas in Latin America. And Bernie Sanders was in his first term as mayor of Burlington.

The Vietnam War was my generation's war. I did not fight in it. I fought against it, as did many veterans, too, just like we're seeing today.

On the personal level, there was a draft. I went through the Selective Service System hearing process - summer of '69 - to obtain a "1-0," i.e. conscientious objector status (CO). Got it on a 3-1 vote of my distinguished local draft board. Still see the long Salem filter cigarette dangling out of the red lips of the smirking platinum blond who was the clerk of the board. She looked at me like I was a piece of total ____ and should be taken outside and executed!

A few days later, I was a little surprised to open the mail and see I had been given conscientious objector classification (no Roman Catholic had ever been granted one by my draft board before me). And I was a little disappointed, too, since it 'ended the battle,' so to speak, but my mother was tremendously relieved.

Moms, eh?

Also, there are several really cool buildings at the northbound Sharon Rest Area, an info center and a geothermal planetarium that will fascinate children of all ages. Great bathrooms, too.

According to Roy Black, the friendly "transportation ambassador" inside (pictured at right), the names of 128 Vermonters who were killed in Vietnam are on the granite marker outside.

Also on hand are big journals with the names of the 7230 Vermonters who served in the Vietnam War.

Look, nobody's saying we have to out-do Vietnam in Iraq and Iran, are they?

Tags: , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact

About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More By This Author


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Freyne Land

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation