1969: The Order of The Purple Toe

This week’s Saturday Morning re-run – I still shudder a bit when I read this story. Normally both Donny and I were fairly responsible young men but when we got together most of our individual good judgement disappeared. I’d like to think that being the country mouse and used to hunting I’d have cleared the weapon first, but to be brutally honest Don was the triggerman only because he’d picked up the rifle first.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

The summer of 1969 was a scary time for me in many ways. I had some big decisions coming up; I was half-way through high school and supposedly preparing for adult life but I was in fact totally clueless. There were a number of careers that had minor appeal but nothing that jumped out to me. I thought about police work but military service was also a strong possibility; not only was the conflict in Viet-Nam running hot at the time, I was a “navy brat” and military service – especially career military service – tends to follow family lines. I was a little worried though – while there were aspects of military life had great appeal to me, the very real prospect of death or wounding had very little appeal. The Purple Heart was a medal I really didn’t want to win.

There was more than school and career…

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