Hamilton Dawes

As Interviewed by Georgia Eckel, February 14, 2019

Hamilton Dawes: In His Own Words

My name is Hamilton Dawes… I am seventy-one years old and, I live in Houston Texas. I’d thought about getting involved with flying airplanes and flying with military first then, wanting to fly but, I have a deaf ear, so I can’t fly commercially. The best part of going there (the military) was leaving. I try to only remember the good times and the nice people that I met. You see things in war that you just try to forget. The places that I went to, I tried to only think about good things.

After I got back, I decided I was going to try to finish my education. So, I went back to Kent State University. My best friend was in a fraternity there, and he called me up one night, on a Friday night. He said he was sitting outside of his fraternity house, watching these military trucks drive by. A person by the name of Jerry Rubin and some followers of what they call the students for democratic society were there exposing the fact that the kids should all riot against the war in Vietnam. It got worse because the students burned the R. O. T. C. building. They set it on fire. A fire truck came to put out the flames and students grabbed the axes off the fire truck and cut the hoses so that the fire couldn’t be put out. The R. O. T. C. building burnt down to the ground. They were also burning the American Flag. I was watching this and all of the sudden a national guard came in with riot gear. He started telling them that they needed to leave. (The students) didn’t leave so they fired tear gas canisters into the crowd. By then, I ran to the back of the building, because I didn’t want any part of it. When the kids were throwing rocks and bottles at that guard troop, they turned around and fired their rifles into a group of about one-hundred kids. So, four kids lied there in front of me. They had been shot and, they had been murdered (by the national guard). On the news, as I was driving home, the news media had reported that four guardsmen had been shot as opposed to four students. So, I learned not to trust everything people are saying in the media.

I think protests are good if they are done right. In my ear point, there is a right and a wrong. If something is going wrong there is not any reason why somebody shouldn’t protest against it. Everyone has a voice. Your voice in this country needs to be heard. If you feel something is wrong then you need to say it. But, need do it peacefully, in the sense that once a protest gets to the point where it is destroying property, or hurting people, then that's wrong itself and needs to be stopped.

It (being in the military) has taught me that diplomacy, peace and, peaceful protesting is a lot better than war and conflict. People don’t want another Vietnam. They want to be done with people trying to harm other people. I believe that peace is a very good thing.