I was a teenager in the 60s, full of passion and distrust of our government.
I recall my peers who were already protesting against the "illegal war" in Vietnam, when I graduated from high school in 1968.
Politically, I was clueless. I didn't even understand what was really happening in Vietnam when I voluntarily joined the Army.
Why did I join? Friends and family still ask me that. I can only say that I wanted a change in my life and going into the Army seemed like an interesting adventure at the time.
I never seriously thought about having to go to Vietnam. I wasn't exactly a deep thinker in those days. I shouldn't have been surprised when I got orders to go to Vietnam in the fall of 1969. I was 19-years old.
After serving my time in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970, as a combat engineer, I came home to a rude greeting. No one liked Vietnam veterans. At least, it felt that way.
My time in Vietnam taught me many lessons. Perhaps the most important one was that we - America - were the "bad guys" invading their homeland.
I felt like I'd been duped by the government after what I saw in Vietnam. The corruption and senseless slaughter of civilians singed my soul. I felt dirty and betrayed.
When I returned to the United States a powerful youth movement against the war was underway in colleges across the nation.
The passionate protests coming from the country's youth made a difference. We got out of Vietnam.
When I look at the survivors of the recent school slaughter in Florida, I see the youth from my days. Anger. Resolve. Persistence. Bucking the system to stop the madness.
This time it isn't college students leading the way for change. It's high school students. Survivors with a message for our polarized politicians.
"We want to feel safe when we go to school!"
The NRA and right-wing nuts are trying to delegitimize these brave teenagers by claiming some are hired actors paid by left-wing forces.
That's bullshit ,and the world knows it.
I stand in solidarity with teenagers nationwide who are trying to make a positive difference, and save future lives.
Time for me to walk on down the road....