Ron Ridenour

About Ron Ridenour
Short stories



Remembering a Lifetime of Struggle and Vietnam’s Heroic Victory

[April 30, 2020]

My father, an Air Force officer, and I sat glued to the radio. The Ruskies were invading Hungary, October 23, 1956. I just turned 17, a high school senior. The next day, I joined the United States Air Force, with my Dad’s permission, to fight and kill the Commies.

Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Air Force Strategic Command, got his rocks off strategically bombing everywhere when it came to mass murdering “gooks”: Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese. He was my father’s hero.

Four years in the imperialist military taught me the US governments were the bad guys. When my tour ended, I threw my uniform at the gate as I left the base and engaged in the early actions against the Vietnam War. One step forward into the radical-revolutionary movement. My priority was always to fight against the war, and concomitantly fight for equal-civil rights. This path I have eagerly tread for six decades. I would have fought in arms with my brothers and sisters in Indo-China — so many millions murdered and tortured by my father and his superiors: Wall Street, the weapons industry war barons. Hate, sweat, tears, jailings, beatings, treachery, secret spies saturated my life.

As an anti-war activist and radical journalist, I strove to be where the action was. I immersed my indignation into my body and soul. I fought. There was no other way. Not to fight leaves me complicit and guilty.

We were together in action, in music, in passion, in enlightened-leery outer-space, in pain, in joy, in orgasms. We were one David — a gigantic multi-varied movement struggling for justice. It was real. Entwining humanity and facing down elitist profiteer-murderers liberated us from contemplating our navels, forming us into one whole.

Once coordinating a peace fundraiser at a hot-spot jazz club in L.A., a music producer approached me and handed me a pre-recorded song entitled, “The War Is Over If You Want it To Be”. Beatles style. He wanted me to play it at our event. I looked at it, and said no, no I can’t. I feel it makes too light of the horrendous bloodbath against a good people, who did the US no harm, and they are forced to fight onward until they win. No, it must wait to be heard until the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians win and retake their sovereignty with the help of our massive solidarity activism in the streets and halls of rotten politics across the world.

When that day came, May Day 1975, I was at home alone and ecstatic. Hallelujah! My people have won! I jumped up and down and cried out loud. I took the record out of its hiding place and played, “The War Is Over!” And I played it over and over all afternoon, and I cried over and over until I was dried out.

Today, other peoples are suffering under American Exceptionalism’s omnipotent hand. That ludicrous world of delusion and deception disgusts decent beings.

Today, I miss those years of activism, the comradeship, even the violent discussions and intra-contradictions. We were alive; we were all trying to be morally just.

We have wandered the deserts and the seas. We have been hungry and thirsty. We have been murdered and tortured. We are of the working class, of the castes; we are of many colors and nationalities. We share a common vision: freedom and equality; shelter, bread, water for all. We fight together, in order to live in peace and harmony.

The heroic Vietnamese people showed us the way.

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