At 9:45 AM in Hollywood, California, a man in his fifties and his son, twenty, approached the tall office building for the young man’s deposition at a busy intersection on Sunset Boulevard. Tall father in his blue pin striped suit, and muscular son, three inches shorter, in slacks and a sport shirt, strutted through a cross-walk. A crowd waited for a street musician to begin. Father and son passed the gathering to a nine-story office building, through glass revolving doors, into the foyer over black granite tile to the elevators. A swift ride to the ninth floor took them to a snazzy law office where the defense lawyers rented space. They stepped out of the elevator on to dark oak floor that led to the reception area.“We are here for John Kelly’s deposition,” Matt Kelly said to the slender dark- haired receptionist. She wore a professional grey suit bearing a name tag, “Fran”. She whisked them to the law library, where legal treatises ascended from floor to ceiling, and Joe Murphy, John’s attorney, closed the doors, “All the defense lawyers have read the hospital and psychiatric reports, and everyone wants to settle except the attorney for the driver of the Toyota who caused the accident without your deposition, John. She seems argumentative. The insurance lawyer is a professional and will begin the questioning. Just stick to the facts.” They walked to the conference room. Joe opened the heavy oak doors and they entered. Set on red carpet, an oak table had nine empty captain’s chairs with a court reporter at the far end in a dark blue suit. She had just placed new paper in her shorthand machine. A long glass window overlooked Sunset Boulevard to the east. They remained standing as the defense attorneys arrived. An obese female lawyer for the driver of the blue Toyota sauntered in with the insurance company’s lawyer, a husky red-haired attorney with a crew cut, Jack Levine. The reporter arose and pointing at the seat next to her said, “Would the deponent please sit here?” John took that seat, Joe sat adjacent, and Matt moved next to him. “Mr. John Kelly, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” the court reporter said. “I do.” “Counsel may proceed.” “Mr. Kelly, what time did you begin the trip in question?”asked Levine. “About ten AM.” “Where did you leave from?” “542 Newton Avenue, San Fernando, California.” “Who else joined you?” “My wife Barbara.” “What course of study were you engaged in at the time of the accident?” “I was a Microbiology student at UCLA in my third year.” “What speed were you going at the time of the collision? “I used cruise control at 66 miles per hour.” “Tell us how the accident occurred?” “The defendant’s Toyota entered the freeway on my right at high speed. I tried to avoid the collision but was surrounded by trucks. I honked and moved over but her car slammed into mine sending it into a spin. My car crossed into oncoming traffic, a van broadsided me, and knocked me unconscious.” “So you didn’t see the van coming ? “No, everything went dark once the spin ended.” “What do you recall next?” “I awoke at the UCLA hospital in the ICU.” “How long did you remain there?” “Two weeks.” “Do you have any symptoms today?” “Emotional distress from the loss of my wife, unable to finish my science major, and constant back pain.” “Have you seen any medical professionals?” Joe Murphy interposed, “May we take a break so I can discuss the medical records with counsel?” “Off the record for a conference,” said the court reporter. Joe whispered to John and Matt, “Why don’t you gentlemen go outside and relax. It’s a lovely day. I’ll get them back into settlement mode.” Joe took defense counsel through the medical records, hospital charges, and car repairs. John and Matt left. “Dad, can you hear that saxophone around the corner?” John said. “Yeah, that’s a Glenn Miller tune I played in high school. Let’s go listen.” “That old music jumps and the sax wails.” “That’s a mellow tone he must have amplified.” Matt pulled out a five spot and handed it to John, “Toss it in the man’s hat.”John placed the bill in a red and white brocaded leather hat with the name “Zeke” embroidered in gold on one side. Zeke winked and nodded acknowledging the gift reeling, rollicking, and blowing on his mouthpiece. His cheeks puffed like balloons as he manipulated the sound. With fuzzy white-hair covering his chin, standing and rocking back and forth, he sound-sculptured “In the Mood” with melodious notes that wafted from his gold sax. A crowd of smiling pedestrians had gathered clapping their hands and moving their feet, heads bobbing, and fingers popping to Zeke’s music oblivious to the dust, smell of garbage, and clamor of the street. “My brother played that on sax and I played trumpet in high school.” “Why not ask him to play another?”John said. “Zeke, can you play ‘Little Brown Jug?’” “Sure can, friend,” Zeke said winking his eyes catching a sparkle from the sun. His gold-plated 1950 Selmer Alto spilled notes that affected the crowd who rocked, moved heads and shoulders, feet and hands, to his rhythms and riffs. Some danced to Zeke’s spicy improvisations as his fingers raced over the brass keys like a hummingbird’s wings. Time seemed to stand still for the Kellys relieving them of the morning’s tension and restoring balance. After a half an hour Matt said, “How long will you be here?” “Hell, I’ll stay here until 8 PM.” “Do you play any Brubeck?” John asked. “I’ll save 'Take Five' for you.”They went back to the office and sat in the reception room with a cup of coffee. “Let’s get lunch” Joe said coming out of the conference room “and discuss settlement.” After ordering sandwiches they took a seat overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Jack met them, “I’m sorry Joe, but Griselda insists on her opportunity to question John before she’ll agree to any contribution from her client.” “Just like her. This’ll be over soon,” Matt said putting his arm on John’s shoulder. The court reporter said, “Mr. Kelly you are still under the oath.” The Insurance attorney, a woman in her thirties, blond-brown bouffant shooting skyward, large pointed nose piercing forward, started the attack with pursed lips and eyes glaring: “Mr. Kelly, why do you expect our insurance company and my client to give you any money for killing your wife with your reckless driving?” “How dare you attack my son?” shouted Matt face red with rage. John’s pained expression looked as if he had just witnessed his wife's death. His eyes welled up and he slumped in his chair as if all the air went out of him. Joe jumped up a little cooler and made his record: “Objection! Ms. Crass, your question assumes facts not in evidence, is argumentative, unethical, and unprofessional. You know the police cited your client for gross negligence and exonerated my client who has lost his young wife and had his dreams of a future crushed. You have interfered with the progress counsel, except you, have made toward resolving this matter. I shall file a complaint with the state bar against you for unethical misconduct. This transcript contains the evidence. The deposition is over.” Matt and John arose and joined Joe as they walked into the reception area. They were followed by all the attorneys. Ms. Crass fumed from the accusation. She arose, pointed her nose skyward, and stomped out bouffant trailing. One could imagine smoke erupting from a train stack as she chugged out the door. The court reporter agreed to send the transcripts to counsel and be a witness in further proceedings. “Don’t worry Joe, we’ll settle. Crass only represents the driver’s personal funds as a high school student. She’s been cited by the police and has a driving record that will follow her,” Jack said, “I don’t want any money from the young girl,” blurted John. “Good for you,” said Matt. “The case ends when you sign the settlement agreement,” said Jack. “I’ll send it to you tomorrow,” Joe said. Everyone shook hands and parted. John and Matt left the law office, took the elevator down to the first floor, walked into the foyer, and through the revolving doors. They heard a loud SCREECH and then a THUD. A leather hat lay in the crosswalk with a crowd of witnesses. A crumpled old white-haired man was ten feet in front of a black Cadillac Escalade with the tires on both sides of the crosswalk. A policeman at the scene opened the door and out stepped Griselda Crass, screaming “That man darted in front of me. I couldn’t avoid him.” “Tell it to the judge, lady. You’re under arrest,” said the policeman as he handcuffed her, while his partner started taking witness statements. An ambulance pulled up and immediately began treating Zeke who started breathing again. “What happened?” Matt asked a pedestrian in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. “Zeke was halfway in the street when the SUV slammed him,” said a bystander. “That driver was on a cell phone when she hit Zeke,” a woman of thirty said. “What was the last song he played?” John asked the man with the drums. “‘Time out’ by Brubeck.”
In preparation for our Alaskan adventure, our delayed honeymoon during the late summer of 1972, we purchased an old yellow International Harvester panel van. Later that evening we decided to take the truck for a trial run on the highway and realized the tires needed replacement. We bought four new tires and took off for Lake Tahoe. No sooner than ten minutes on the road the smell of smoke alarmed me. Flames were coming up through the floorboard! At a gas station I poured water on the fire and found the exhaust pipe angle made hot contact with the wooden floorboards. Had the sellers planned a prank? My insurance company reimbursed us for the repairs. Bill Ruck, a friend from Cal State Long Beach, had joined a commune in Northern California, learned carpentry, and asked if he could help turn our truck into our “Yellow Submarine” for our trip. He made storage cabinets for our stereo, speakers, suitcases, and a hanging closet for clothes. We installed a stereo with speakers and stored tapes of our favorite music for our 3300-mile odyssey. Joan and I stored our belongings and food in the cabinets, clothes in the closet, and picked up road guides from AAA. At an Army Navy store we purchased green down jackets and sleeping bags that warranted comfort at 40 degrees below zero, and put a mattress over the cabinets with bedding and pillows. Storing my corvette in a garage for $10 a month, I placed it on bricks, took off the tires, and disconnected the battery. Our course to Anchorage would take us to campsites we planned to roam with Shiva in British Columbia, past lakes, glaciers, towns, and cities we could only imagine. Booking a ferry from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Haines on the Alaskan Inland Passage, we embarked early on July first listening to Dylan’s “Like a Rollin’ Stone.” Berkeley behind us, we sang and joyfully anticipated an Alaskan adventure. “Don’t exceed the limit, Dan; you don’t need an arrest before your first law job.” The first night we stopped at a beautiful lakeside campsite just across the Canadian border. After parking our camper at the top of a hill overlooking the expansive lake surrounded by pines, and conifers, we walked out with Shiva on a leash attached to her red collar as California Law required, gold name tag dangling, her black coat shimmering in the sunlight, and she whined and tugged. A couple next to us walked over, “Let that dog go!" the burly husband said with a smile,“You're in British Columbia." After unleashing Shiva she dashed down the hill, disappeared through pine trees, and plunged in the lake with a glorious SPLASH. I thought she would run away but she was after a flock of Canadian Geese that scattered honking and cackling. Each black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan breast, and brown back rose in the sunset transforming the spectacle from tranquil to cacophonous, yet picturesque. Shiva swam around, lunged out, and raced back to me panting with her pink tongue hanging out. “Good girl, Shiva,” I said, scratching her neck and petting her black shiny head. She looked up in gratitude and shook water all over me. Joan and our new camp friends laughed and then made a fire for a BBQ. A feeling of freedom, fresh air, and the smell of pine trees, filled us with vigor. A crackling fire, basted chicken breasts, and corn on the cob, put us in the mood for sky watching. The twinkling stars we barely saw in California cities burst forth in the Milky Way galaxy. The “Tea Pot” in Sagittarius and Scorpio’s tail sparkled and shimmered. An hour later we were in sleeping bags with Shiva at our feet. We drove through the pristine roads of British Columbia dotted with pines, oaks, and maples on our way to Prince Rupert. A Tlingit village that featured tall totem poles was celebrating a holiday and offered a canoe trip with a guide who told us their version of the creation story known as the Raven Cycle: “Raven steals the stars, the moon, and the sun from Naas-sháki Shaan, the Old Man at the Head of the Nass River who kept them in three boxes. Raven transforms himself into a hemlock needle and drops into a water cup belonging to the Old Man's daughter. She becomes pregnant with him and gives birth to him as a baby boy. Raven cries until the Old Man hands him the Box of Stars, another with the moon, and a third with the sun. Raven opens the lid and the stars escape into outer space. He rolls the box with the moon in it out the door where it flees to the heavens. Raven waits until everyone is asleep, changes into his bird form, grasps the sun in his beak, opens the box, and the sun breaks free into the blue sky.” “That’s a beautiful and interesting myth,” I said. “It is no myth, it is our truth our ancestors shared with us. Never call the Raven Cycle a myth,” she reprimanded me angrily. Realizing I had put my foot in my mouth while seeking to learn about their culture, it occurred to me in awhile my clients in Alaska had their traditions and stories, which I would respect, and apologized to our Indian guide for using the word myth; but I had caused some damage. You can’t un-ring a bell. Once we reached Prince Rupert, we boarded a ferry for the Inland Passage to Haines. We slept on deck chairs outside when the crew secured our yellow truck alongside other vehicles. After ninety miles we arrived at Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” home of all five species of salmon who inhabit the streams and waters of the Tongass for spawning, leaving their roe on the gravel. We took Shiva out for a walk along Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town. When she saw salmon leaping up the “fish ladder” they climb to spawn at the top, she barked and raced to the edge filled with an electric charge of energy. I feared she would jump in and directed her back on the path that followed the creek through the primeval forest. The gravel beds are the end of the salmon’s struggle and are so thick with numbers the shallow streams were black with fins and twisting fish. Shiva smelled the dying salmon that had spawned, hurtled over logs, and bolted through underbrush in a frenzy searching for wildlife. Sand hill cranes, trumpeter swans, black-tail deer, porcupines, and wolves roamed the area. Red cedar, yellow-cedar, mountain hemlock, spruce, and shore pine were everywhere. Nature had aroused Shiva and us with such energy, we chased our black bouncing streak laughing with joy. We rested under hemlock and spruce and gave our Lab food and water next to an alpine meadow covered with pink fireweed, blue lupine and yellow poppies. A Ferry whistle brought us back to reality. After we got underway we saw killer whales and porpoises jumping and playing alongside the ferry. Bald eagles soared on thermals. Dall porpoises have black backs and white bellies resembling killer whales, but are much smaller, and generated a “rooster tail” spray visible for twenty feet. They were “bow riding”—a pressure wave like the blast of wind that follows a passing truck—they sidled up under the surface and rode inside the pressure wave. At our next stop we left the ferry to see the capital of Alaska, Juneau. The mountains sloped down to the water where it rests along the shoreline. The Tlingit Indians have used the adjacent Gastineau Channel as one of their favorite fishing grounds for thousands of years. The native culture, rich with artistic traditions, included carving, weaving, orating, singing, and dancing. We saw the Mendenhall Glacier at the Juneau visitor center--a massive mountain of ice with cracks and fissures that revealed tints of blue and gray. The sound of ice chunks tumbling into the water below roared as the waves caused from violent forces shook floating icebergs sending ripples in the surface. The Mendenhall reached its point of maximum advance in the mid-1700s, while its terminus rested almost two and a half miles down the valley from its present position. The mighty glacier started retreating as its annual rate of melt began to exceed its yearly total accumulation. Its bulk now retreats at a rate of one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet a year. Global warming has accelerated the process so the glacier will disappear in several centuries.
(Click on personal photos to zoom and images to expand) One morning while reading the local Berkeley newspaper, I saw an advertisement inviting any graduates of the service academies to a meeting to discuss the forming of a peace organization opposing the genocide in Vietnam. I drove to the meeting where I met Dan Embree, a West Point graduate who wanted to start an organization called Concerned Academy Graduates. He had a striking resemblance to Abe Lincoln, at six feet three, dark hair, penetrating eyes, and a chiseled chin. A nucleus of twenty members founded the group. I recognized Ed Fox, an Annapolis classmate, who was also a first-year law student and another connection that proved fruitful for many years thereafter. We held a few press conferences voicing our opposition to the Vietnam debacle. Dan Embree, studying for a PhD in English, gladly wrote position papers. We decided upon the wording on our petition to Congress to get our troops out of Vietnam. At one of our meetings on the University of California Berkeley campus, a group of loud disrupters suddenly entered and shouted, “We’re the gay liberation army and demand to be heard!” They made so much noise we could not hold our own meeting. We just looked at each other dumbfounded because someone said gay liberation had formed a legitimate group on campus and scheduled their meeting the same time as ours. We told them we had reserved the room and to leave, but they ignored us. Some of us were angry enough to consider physically throwing the disrupters out of the room, but decided using force did not fit with our promoting peace. We had already decided on our purpose before the disruption, so we disbanded quickly and reconnected later. We learned long afterwards that this incident appeared as one of many Republican Party dirty tricks in a Freedom of Information request filed by the ACLU. After this and a few other disturbances at meetings to protest, a law made it a crime to deliberately interfere with any organized gathering. As I drove home I saw a man with a peace sign in the back window of his truck where he had a rifle mounted calling it the “Footprint of the American Chicken.” I zoomed up in front of him with my Corvette containing “Veterans For Peace,” “Vietnam Vets Against the War,” and a peace sign on my rear fender. He jumped out and confronted me. I was face to face with an angry gray-haired old man, wearing a white tee shirt containing an American Flag, and faded jeans. He screamed, “I lost my son in Vietnam! You peaceniks deserve to die.” “I am a Vietnam vet. I’m sorry you lost your son, ” I quickly said in a measured tone thinking he might do something crazy. “I want the protesters to know my son’s life was worth something,” he said tears streaming from his face. “Everyone’s life is precious, mister.” He turned around and slowly walked back to his truck shaking his head. I knew he had a rifle and was distraught. Stunned by seeing such emotion, I raced to my car, jumped in, and sped off leaving one of the endless confrontations Americans like me had about Vietnam. How ugly that could have been had he led with his weapon without hearing my words and wasted me. My affiliation with Vietnam Vets Against the War and Veterans for Peace continued. Both held rallies, press conferences against the War, and marched at every peace demonstration. It surprised me to find my name mentioned by KCET after the camera caught me at a press conference saying, “The United States has unleashed its military monster on the Vietnamese people killing over two million Vietnamese men, women, children, and babies while we have lost nearly 50,000 Americans in a civil war. Please support our effort to bring the troops home and stop this destruction.”The announcer added, “Dan Lavery will be speaking at the demonstration and hopes a large number of the public will join the Concerned Academy Graduates, Vets For Peace, and Vietnam Vets Against the War this Saturday at noon.” How quickly my name became associated with peace marches marveled me having just arrived in Berkeley in August 1969 two months ago. Berkeley Campus had almost daily demonstrations that caught the attention of progressive crowds. “People’s Park” was a small plot of land used for speeches, planting vegetables, and protesting. It became a line in the sand for demonstrators and the establishment. Police in riot gear had blinded a student there, injured many others, and brutalized the crowd with their nightsticks and tear gas. Mario Savio, an eloquent spokesman dating back to the “Free Speech Movement” a few years before, addressed the people there on a number of occasions and urged the crowd to stop the madness of the “odious machinery of the state,” whether in Vietnam or on the campus. On one protest with peace advocates in the hundreds carrying signs and shouting, “One, Two, Three, Four. We don’t want your fucking war,” I saw a riot cop slamming a female protester with his club about ten feet from me. The police had shot off canisters of tear gas all over the area. I picked up a tear gas canister and threw it hard at an officer who had attacked an over-powered girl. It forced him away from her but he started after me. Dodging his club, I spun out of his reach, but he nailed my hip with a glancing swat as I raced away from his feeble chase. He could not catch me after fifty yards so he returned to harass those he could bully. Having successfully distracted him from the female student, my eyes stung from the effects of tear gas, my head ached, and my butt was sore. To break up the studying of hundreds of pages of legal treatises, I joined a fast pitch softball team called “English.” Peter Stine, a friend of mine studying for his PhD in English, invited me to join the team as he knew of my love for baseball from previous encounters. We played most of our games at Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley. The league we played in featured highly competitive college-age fast pitch softball teams. Playing shortstop and batting cleanup for this team provided many hours of physical exercise and relaxation from the study of law and added a friendly ingredient of camaraderie. (Click to zoom) At the end of the season, Peter informed me he wanted to move out of his apartment in an old Victorian home in Berkeley he shared with a female English major, and gave us a chance to take his place. Thrilled at the opportunity because the size of the apartment doubled that of our little one on Stewart Avenue, we happily moved into the first floor north side of 1720 Delaware Avenue. We joined six other tenants who had an organic garden in the backyard and pursued literature, weaving, music, dance, and other eclectic activities. The only drawback made itself known when we heard pounding on our ceiling and the shouting of a series of screamed epithets coming from the second floor. We learned a few had a therapist who practiced “Primal Scream Therapy,” of Dr. Arthur Janov, which holds roughly that accumulations of emotionally painful events referred to as Primal Scenes, permanently affect one’s psychological health. A cure can come resolving them by admitting the pain, loudly. Occasionally, one of our housemates would pound on the floor screaming things like, “I hate you Mother. Let me be free” Fortunately, the screaming and pounding only occurred sporadically as the exception to the rule of relative silence. We had stereo speakers on the ceiling where Beethoven restored an ambiance for studying. About this time my first year law student car-pooling friend, Jim Tyler, had a marvelous black Labrador Retriever named Tara who had given birth to a litter of pedigreed puppies. Jim picked out one he wanted us to have we called Shiva, a black glossy muscular, but sleek female. (Click twice to zoom) Shiva lived with us at our apartment, but we soon learned Lab puppies can destroy anything if left alone. She gobbled up a cake Joan made and left on the counter to cool. She chomped on a wooden chair in the apartment, so I had to put her on a long chain tied to a tree in back when we left. She still had shade from a tree and a large bush alongside the wooden fence that surrounded the property. I always left her a bowl full of water while I attended law school for no more than five hours. She learned how catch a Frisbee and soon leaped high to snare my line drive or curving throws over fifty yards before bystanders who admired her canine athleticism. She even caught a phosphorescent Frisbee at night to our delight. We took her on hikes all over the area to put down the books, enjoy the environment, exercise our bodies, and play with Shiva. On April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon demonstrated his dishonesty in telling America he was the peace candidate for the 1968 presidential election when he ordered the invasion of neutral Cambodia. Students, peace groups, and the growing outraged public joined in massive demonstrations to protest this blatant abuse of military power, rejection of the mood of the public, and world opinion. Protests dominated the news. Our law school and many colleges, and high schools in the area joined in marching and shouting our disapproval of escalating military force in Vietnam and the neighboring area. People around the globe united in demonstrating against the American war machine Nixon led. May 4, 1970 shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, left four students dead within one hour. 77 National Guard troops from A Company and Troop G, with bayonets fixed on their rifles, advanced. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students aged 19 and 20, Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Lee Scheuer. They wounded nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Some had been protesting against Nixon’s Cambodia invasion while others were nearby or observing. The response to the shooting resulted in four million students waging a student strike at hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools. When I joined Hastings College of Law students demonstrating outside the law school, the faculty responded by making final exams optional for the first time in history, allowing us to make speeches, join peace rallies, and do draft counseling. The energy of the Peace Movement and anti-war activism sprung up everywhere in our nation. I spoke at high schools trying to awaken them to Defense Department propaganda geared to try to make youth think joining the military is a good career move. Some were patriotic and equated that emotion with a requirement to support the President no matter what he ordered. I knew this feeling from first-hand experience, challenged blind patriotism, and showed them how many veterans opposed the Vietnam War. Having carefully studied the misinformation given out by the Defense Department, I led detailed presentations to the students, answered their questions, gave them sources of information on how to make a claim of conscientious objection, and urged them to join the protests. A televised Peace Rally for Vietnam Veterans opposed to the War occurred at the Federal Building in San Francisco at the same time as one in Washington D.C. In line behind hundreds of protesting vets, I marched there to protest the Cambodian invasion and honor former member of the House of Representatives, George Brown, an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and candidate for Senator. He introduced us to the nation. I read my anti-war statement, threw my Vietnam medals into a coffin, and asked everyone to join against Vietnam madness. Ed Fox, who had served as a Marine in Vietnam, and Dan Embree were there with many Concerned Academy Graduates and hundreds of Vietnam vets. We believed our protests were the most patriotic actions we could take then against the Nixon Administration’s abuse of international law. During the beginning of that summer, Democratic Congressman Allard Lowenstein of Long Beach, New York, contacted me and Ed Fox to assist his re-election campaign. He faced a challenge from a Republican named Norman Lent, whose campaign supported the continuation of the Vietnam War until America won. The campaign had a huge telephone list for us to call. Most were Republicans or conservative Democrats. For five hours a day I tried to change hardened minds who refused to believe I had served in Vietnam or graduated from Annapolis. We persuaded a few on this “tough list” to reconsider their support of the Vietnam conflict. At a “coffee klatch” speaking engagement for Congressman Lowenstein, the group elected me to introduce him. In my warm-up I took the liberty to praise him for having two Naval Academy graduates and Vietnam Vets join his campaign and launched into why we opposed the hostilities in Vietnam. The Congressman stepped forward and said laughingly, “Thanks Dan, for taking the thunder out of my speech.” He totally supported my commitment to try to convince everyone to join the Peace Movement, but I was embarrassed for having taken some of his time. He patted me on the back and encouraged me to keep up my passionate dedication. Other anti-war protesters invited Ed and me to join Vietnam Veterans Against the War to go to Washington D.C. and confront Congressmen who supported the Vietnam Conflict. We approached in a respectful way to persuade them our objections were patriotic and not misdirected youth bashing authority. No matter that we had fought in the War, or had graduated from Annapolis, these hard core Republicans accepted the administration’s position on Vietnam, objected to our protests as unpatriotic, and said we supported the enemy. The nation had become totally polarized over Vietnam and these Congressmen would not consider anything we said as pertinent, as if their political future depended on supporting the president. They seemed convinced they would lose their constituents if they faced the terrible truth that America could not win in Vietnam and joined our request to withdraw our troops and seek peace. Much of the world knew our conduct of the war was at times atrocious and that eventually we would lose it. 50,000 American lives lost there seemed in vain for the meaningless mantra of “fighting for freedom,” when we propped up a corrupt South Vietnamese government. After the appearance in Washington D.C., I flew south to visit Mom and Ruthie in Fernandina Beach. I had not seen them since 1965. They knew of my anti-war sentiments from my letters and phone conversations. “We’re flower children,” Mom and Ruthie said to let me know they were not part of conservative Florida determined to follow Nixon off any cliff waving red, white, and blue flags and wearing yellow ribbons. Yet the conservative army of unity was gradually changing. The majority of patriotic people in Middle America believed in their president. And the soldiers, having committed their very lives to the cause, supported anything that would help them win. They never considered losing in Vietnam. Unfortunately, when I saw the yellow ribbons and flags waving while eating out at a restaurant, my heart sunk. “What’s the matter, Dan?” Mom asked. “The anti-Vietnam protests have so polarized our society the opposing factions despise each other.” “All you need is love, say the Beatles, Danny,” Ruthie reminded me. Sweet Ruthie with her sea of dreams. “I used to believe that, but not when human lives are at stake.” “You only harm yourself when you hate,” Mom chimed in. We stood and looked into each others’ eyes. We hugged. I would not allow sarcasm to permeate a reunion with the people I loved most and mellowed out for the rest of my stay. (Click twice to zoom)
(click on photo to expand; arrow points to Dan) After I graduated from Pre-Flight school at Pensacola, I selected the Mach-2 reconnaissance jet known as the RA5C “Vigilante” as my third choice to the P3 anti-submarine land-based program and the A-6 Intruder. The RA5C had an impressive array of assets including side-looking radar, a series of cameras, a closed circuit TV for target identification, a navigational radar scope, electronic counter-measures equipment, and a million dollar inertial guidance navigation system that permitted the crew to fly missions in bad weather with accurate latitude and longitude. However, during every training mission it failed to work. The only ones operating properly had been placed in the planes flying off carriers in the Vietnam War or in other areas of the world. The Vigilante sported new technologies consisting of wing skins made of aluminum-lithium alloy, critical structures made of titanium, variable ramp engine inlets, a windshield of stretched acrylics, and a retractable mid-air refueling probe. The pilot and navigator flew in tandem cockpits with individual "clamshell" canopies, sitting in North American HS-1 rocket-boosted ejection seats. The pilot controlled ejections, though the back-seater could eject if necessary. While the pilot had a good forward view, the Reconnaissance Attack Navigator (RAN) had only a small window on each side the size of an envelope. Since we needed to view the radar in darkness, we slid shutters over them when the cockpit cover locked us into our cubicle. We had a few training missions to learn how to drop inert bombs from the wings. The Navy maintained a bombing range at a lake in Florida where they measured the accuracy of the drop with a score. We used different approaches for practice. The training allowed us to compete with others, although no RA5C flew bombing missions. A major part of our training occurred in multi-million dollar flight simulators. They resembled a huge video game the actual size of the cockpit. We climbed into the simulator, and performed missions with Navy pilots and RAN instructors. We executed communications and navigated to our designated targets using the inertial guidance system in two-hour sessions. The trainers allowed us to accommodate to the instruments and extremely cramped surroundings. We selected the correct cameras to take required reconnaissance and engaged every device featured on the plane. Only a few months after arriving, my brother visited to see me and my Navy jet. He shook his head in wonderment, “I can’t believe you’re flying in such a sweet supersonic bird only a few months after graduation from the Academy." He rubbed his hands along the fuselage like an admiring father would his child’s face or an engineer his invention. “Assigned to a nuclear sub beat any Navy mission I thought, but your jet is fantastic. It took me a few years before that happened, but here you are on the cutting edge of aviation.” Smiling with pride for the acknowledgement of accomplishment, I wondered how much truth was contained in the public relations materials praising the fastest, biggest, and most expensive carrier-based jet aircraft. Winter survival school occurred in October in Brunswick, Maine. The first day we attended an orientation session in a classroom with reading materials and lectures on survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE). The camp trainers issued us a winter jacket, green fatigues, canteen, hunting knife, cap, and gloves. They divided us into teams. A military truck dropped us deep in a forest. They provided a contour map to assist our goal to go to checkpoints that led to a simulated concentration camp. The military personnel assigned to the SERE training placed “Russian” enemy soldiers in the forest who wandered through the area to capture us. To reduce personal injuries, if they sighted us and said, “You're caught,” we had to surrender without physical conflict. Four teams made up our survival class, which included about one hundred men. The information taught us what to eat in the wild and what to avoid; it warned that after they captured us they would subject us to interrogation and physical abuse. They warned that if we struck any trainer we would fail the course. Such a foolish move in a real camp would end in death or serious injury. They chose an extremely cold day to begin. Snow covered the ground. A strong wind blew through the trees knocking snow and ice around. Once I entered the forest with my assigned team, we gathered briefly to discuss how we would try to reach our goals. We walked for miles before we encountered the enemy dressed in Russian uniforms. I hid and watched as an enemy soldier caught a team member. He took the canteen from our man, opened the top, and poured half the water on his head. It ran down his neck and wet his body. The enemy soldier laughed, got our man’s name, and shouted, “You’re captured. I won’t take you to the concentration camp for interrogation on the first day. Tell your companions they must let us capture them, or the same thing will happen to them. Tomorrow if you’re caught we’ll take you to the concentration camp.” I stayed out of sight in the brush. After that enemy soldier left, we moved through the forest. As I slowly passed a pine tree, I saw an enemy waiting behind another pine a few feet away. He wore a black Russian uniform, dark overcoat, large boots, and black furry hat with ear-flaps buttoned. He grabbed me by my overcoat, “You’re captured. Give me your canteen.” I reluctantly gave him my canteen and prepared for the worst. “Splush” went the water as it drizzled down my neck and under my overcoat drenching my army green fatigue shirt, my trousers, and underclothes. I began shivering from a blast of cold wind. I wanted to tear him apart for his unprovoked sadism. He had captured me. Why do this to your own military in the name of training? He seemed to enjoy gratuitous sadism. He left me and went harassing and capturing others with the same treatment. Determined not to allow any of these bullies to catch me again, I moved silently and slowly from tree to tree. Since I was a fast runner, I decided if another enemy appeared to use my speed to avoid him. A few times some of us ran to get through an open portion of the forest so we could hide in trees, foliage, and shrubbery. Soon it got dark. Our group completed a few miles of progress toward a checkpoint each had to achieve by the next day. The cold started to increase as the night progressed. Feeling worn out from expending so much energy, I sweated profusely from running, dodging, and hiding from the enemy. We met in small groups to form a circle around some tall pine trees. Each of us picked a tree to sleep under as the training course suggested. A large tree with many loose leaves around it seemed to provide protection from the elements and a primitive bed. I climbed in my sleeping bag, using my overcoat as a cover, and slept on my poncho. Shivering, I glanced up and saw over-hanging branches with snow on the ends. The closer I moved to the trunk, the more protection and warmth I found. After drinking from my canteen, having an energy bar, and chewing on some nuts, I fell asleep. In the middle of the night, something awakened me causing me to pick up my sleeping bag and look around. A pair of tiny eyes were looking at me. A field mouse had crawl into my sleeping area and chose a spot near my feet just outside my sleeping bag under my overcoat. He had as much right to the warmth as I did and allowed him to join me chuckling to myself. Who would ever believe I spent the night with a field mouse under a tree in a snowy Maine forest? The next day we moved further along to our goal. As we progressed the enemy loudly announced a capture when they caught another trainee. After awhile one of the Russians loudly proclaimed, “We are taking you Yankee pigs to a concentration camp as prisoners of war where you will rot.” I remained silent hidden in the underbrush sweating, tired, and scratched from racing by trees with hanging branches and sharp twigs. Time seemed to slow down under such pressure. Hours later, I realized that eventually these brutal enemy soldiers would herd us like cattle into the camp. A loud siren wailed and a voice from a loud speaker informed us if they hadn’t captured us, to turn ourselves over to the guards at the concentration camp. Hungry, tired, and angry, I decided the camp provided an opportunity to show them I had what it took to survive and help my team. I joined the other team members outside the concentration camp where the SERE instructors lectured us about the way anyone caught by an enemy should act to have a chance to survive in war. The written materials contained a list of things to do and to avoid; such as acting violent—they would kill anyone who did, and it would cause harm to others. The enemy had weapons. As a prisoner of war (POW), each of us needed to use our knowledge to escape if we could, but while in captivity to keep together, protect each other, and stay healthy. The school graded us on our leadership ability to resist providing any useful information to the enemy and always pursue a way to escape. We were to encourage our men to build unity no matter what treatment we received,maintain high spirits, and energize exhausted captives. If caught, we knew to give only name, rank, date of birth, and serial number. Upon entering the concentration camp, trainees were being assaulted by the enemy guards, screamed at, and separated into various places. They had a black box they threatened to put anyone in who failed to follow instructions. When they started to abuse one of our men by knocking him to the ground, I ran to him, picked him up, and informed the guard he had violated the Geneva Convention on abuse of prisoners. “I’ll write a report on your abuse when American forces rescue us.” He grabbed me by the over coat, “So you think the US will investigate me and rescue you? You’re a capitalist fool. You’ll pay for your disrespect of the Russian Army.” He said to his compatriots, “Come here. We’ll teach this one to talk back to us. Let's put him in the Black Box.” Two large enemy guards ran up to me, yanked me around, and dragged me to a black box about eight feet by three feet. Two of them threw me into it bruising my arms, knees, and shoulders. One started to close the lid, “You’ll never see daylight again, Yankee.” Before they closed the box, I yelled, “We’re free men in America! Our friends will rescue us.”They slammed the lid down. A clicking sound of a chained padlock meant they locked me in. In complete darkness, cramped into a narrow space, I could not turn around. The hard boards underneath me caused my back to ache after a few minutes. An odor of sweat emanated inside from the many trainees who had experienced the box. Guards yelled and shouted outside at other trainees and tried to justify their Communist beliefs as Russian guards. “Your form of government allows the rich to exploit the weak and the minorities. You’re greedy capitalists. We’ll crush you.”As time wore on the box became hot. I found it hard to breathe and felt like a caged animal. My body ached from the way my arms, legs, and shoulders squeezed against each other. Extremely thirsty, sweating profusely, I realized what a horrible torture awaited any prisoner who remained in the black box for any significant time. My sense of time dulled. Eventually, a noise on the doors sounded like someone unlocked the box and opened the prison where I had languished for about an hour. As I crawled out with help from trainees the guards took other members of our survival team for interrogation. They made us do calisthenics, push-ups, sit-ups, and run in place yelling, “Get those knees up, Pigs.” One of them came up to me, “Come with me, Yankee, for questioning.” The hulking specimen of a guard resembled a wrestler. He took me to an intelligence officer at a desk who wore a uniform with ribbons, medals, and decorations. The high ranking officer spoke in a simulated Russian accent, “How many men are in your group?”I gave him my name, rank, birth and serial number. In frustration, he bellowed, “You’re a stupid American whose country mighty Russia will destroy.” He said to the guard, “Take him back to interrogation.”Two helmeted brutish Russian guards led me to another building. They walked me to a hallway where a series of rooms with a thick plastic window stood about my height in each doorway. They pushed open a door to a cell with canvas padding on all walls and the floor. A giant of a muscular man with a blond crew cut stood in front of me. He looked like a linebacker on a pro football team. He began spouting commands in a phony Russian accent, “Yankee pig officer, enter my room of pain.” I entered walking up to him. “Tell me what group you’re from or I’ll hurt you,”he barked. “My name is Daniel Crim Lavery.” I continued with birth, rank, and serial number. He grabbed me by the overcoat, and threw me as hard as he could against the padded wall behind him. I hit the wall flat so as not to hurt myself and laughed at him. “You think it’s funny? Wait till you see what I do next, Capitalist Pig.” He threw me around the room about ten times, but I always bounced back facing him with a stance showing I had prepared for this drill.“You think you’re tough pig, but I’ll crush you and your kind.” He walked up to me and made an awful growling noise, hacking as if he had something he was trying to get out of his throat and spit a wad of slimy white saliva in my face. I started to wipe it off and he hocked another big wad onto my left eye. Again, I started to wipe that slime off when he spit all over my forehead and nose. Now he had really pissed me off. Knowing I could hurt him but not wanting him to think that, I took a fighting stance, glared angrily at him, and shouted, “You’re a coward.” He looked for just a moment surprised, “Are you going to hit me?” I just stared at him with anger written all over me and held my stance as if to challenge him to abuse me again, but said nothing. He walked up to me and spit four more times rapidly in my face. I just wiped it off and remained prepared for any physical assault. He then told the guards “Take the worthless Yankee bastard out of my sight.” The guards took me to the main yard. At the end of three days, I endured much. It made me reflect on our precious freedoms as no other exercise had ever done before.