What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? by
(309 Stories)

Prompted By War

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What Did You Do in the War,  Daddy?

When our son was young he asked us if we were at Woodstock.  We had to say No,  but we didn’t have an answer when he asked,  Why not?

He was disappointed and I’m sure we went down a notch or two in his esteem.

He never asked if we rode the Freedom Bus,  or went to Washington to hear Dr King.  Or if we marched against the Vietnam War,  or burnt a bra or a draft card.  Had he asked we would have had to say No.

And I still don’t have an answer when I ask myself,  Why not? 

Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Woodstock, Vietnam War
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    It just wasn’t who you were, Dana. You experienced social justice in your own way. You can wonder, but you don’t need to apologize. These big events happen at certain times in our life. We may be open to them or not. Sometimes, we just have to live our lives.

  2. Marian says:

    Dana, I didn’t do any of those specific things either, my excuse being I was in my mid teens at the height of the protests. However, later I did take action in the women’s movement on a professional basis. A group of us representing San Francisco Women in Advertising in 1977 wrote the local ad journal, which had been publishing job listings by male/female. We asked them to stop or we’d sue, and we signed the letter individually. I’d been in my first advertising job only for a few months, and we all were concerned that we’d lose our jobs. However, the journal immediately complied! I’m sure there are other ways you have contributed when needed, although from the perspective of your son, I can understand why you might be embarrassed.

    • Thanx Marian, I can’t say I was embarrassed or ashamed, but saw them as missed opportunities to take a stand or an action for what I knew were worthy causes!

      Must say I was proud of my husband when I was planning to meet friends for that first Woman’s March, and at the last minute as I was heading out the door he said, Wait, I’m coming too!

  3. Ah, yes, Dee…missed opportunities, I know them well. And we’re not alone: “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it ceased to be one.” (Mark Twain)

    Forward, march! As in VOTE!

  4. Suzy says:

    I have somewhat regretted not going to Woodstock, as I wrote in another story, but who knew how important it would turn out to be? I’m surprised your son asked you about it though, because my kids never did. As for the political stuff, it’s interesting that you don’t have an answer to the question “why not.” I’m glad you went to the first Women’s March, and that your husband went with you. And there’s still lots of work to be done, so it’s not too late!

    • Suzy, reading my post, my husband reminds me in fact we did go on at least one anti-war march in the 70s, and of course I do remember going with him more recently to Philly on a bus chartered by our synagogue to get out the Hillary vote – an unsuccessful effort as we all now know.

      But it seems my mind is like a sieve lately, or maybe I do have one foot in LaLaLand as my husband often claims! But wouldn’t it be grand to find out that the last 3 1/2 years, and Covid have all been just a bad dream!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Dana, I think we all could have done (and still could do) more. Sometimes the gesture feels so small and futile, like sending out out postcards to encourage people to vote blue in 2016. But our current situation is so bad, worse than Watergate/Nixon/Vietnam, that if I can’t march that well anymore due to a bad back and the pandemic risk, I will write those cards again.

  6. Woodstock: 100,000 tickets were sold – 1,000,000+ showed up while 1 billion claim to have been there. Tell me that you saw the movie?

  7. Khati Hendry says:

    Hey Dana, I wasn’t at Woodstock either (deliberately—too superficial!) but I know all the words to the song😀. Can’t do it all. I like the Mark Twain quote BB mentioned from previous posting.

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