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Last Visit To Boonton High School
By Ken Dalton
Late last spring I (Ken Dalton of the NY/NJ Chapter of VVAW & Veterans For Peace, Chapter 21 New Jersey), made my last visit to the Boonton High School (New Jersey) class on the American War in Vietnam. I have been a regular visitor to Mr Frank Dunn's course on that war. Unfortunately for us, Frank Dunn is now enjoying a well deserved retirement after many years as a history teacher at Boonton High.
Over the years, I always received a great reception from the kids, explaining that since I was in the Navy, I never shot at anybody and nobody shot at me. However, that never relieved me of the moral injury of taking part in that immoral and unjust war. In addition, having docked in Vung Tau, Vietnam and subsequently being exposed to Agent Orange, I didn't escape prostate cancer which may have been caused by that exposure.
One of the points I always brought out was how I was a fervent supporter of that war until a man by the name of Daniel Ellsberg leaked the "Pentagon Papers" to the press, an event which opened my eyes to the truth about our government, which has had a profound effect on my life ever since.
In closing, I always enjoyed helping the kids understand why I believe the war in Southeast Asia was nothing to be proud of participating in and also that military recruiters are not their friends.
Hopefully, Frank Dunn's replacement will continue this tradition and invite me back for future classes to counter any "proud to have served" Vietnam veterans.
Ken Dalton is a VVAW member from New Jersey. He served in the US Navy from 1970-74 as an EN2.
Ken Dalton at Boonton High.