American Notes: Memorial and Commencement, 1970

The coincidence of Memorial Day and the commencement season has always had some poignancy—an oxymoron of the young war dead and a lively new generation emerging from the academy to begin its life's work. This year the rites at campus and cemetery have an especially intense significance.

Themes of the two observances converge. Of the 561,652 U.S. war dead honored on Memorial Day, 42,265 have died in Indochina. The war shadows this generation. Education, traditionally regarded as an American salvation, has meant merely a deferment for many. Some are leaving their ROTC programs for active duty. More than a few will...

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