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WOODSTOCK: A soldier’s perspective

| May 22, 2020 1:00 AM

Dear Syd Albright:

That was a quite a trip down memory lane about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll at Woodstock. I did not make the party. In fact, the only “Woodstock” I remember in 1969 was attached to the blue steel rifle receiver and barrel of my M-14, as I trained with others to voyage and die for the Realm in SE Asia.

I do recall running into some of the concert participants as I walked through the terminal at LAX when I came home on leave. They did not take too kindly to my Army uniform. They cursed me and spat at me. I think they later cleaned themselves up, went to law school, and found employment in the Clinton Administration.

However, Syd the Historian, you neglected another significant event in 1969. The H3N2 Hong Kong Flu Pandemic. It killed over one million worldwide. According to the CDC, it killed about 100K Americans. Most were 65 or older.

I do not recall any shutdowns, social distancing, quarantines, business failures, hand-wringing, school closings, etc. The Army did practice “social distancing” at Fort Ord while I was a guest there, but that was due to an outbreak of spinal meningitis.

How about something just a little more relevant for your readers, Syd? Did not Mark Twain mention that history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme? After all, the 51st anniversary of the Woodstock festival is not even until this August.

JOHN M. JOHNSON

Post Falls