It was January, 1991. The news was filled with images of troopers in the desert and evil Saddam, picking on his neighbors. Senators were talking about reinstating the draft. I was five months away from 18.
My mom told me she'd personally put me on a bus to Canada. This is how I learned about war.
My parents' generation had their great war and their great protests. And us kids, we grew up hearing their stories over and over. The war that divided a nation. The protests that changed the world. Vietnam, Nixon, and everything after.
Us kids, we had MTV. The shuttle disaster. The first shuttle disaster, I mean. Challenger. We had Adam Curry. Guns N' Roses. VHS. This was before the net. Before VH1. Before Adam Curry became just another weblogger and another shuttle fell from the sky. Before another Bush took the White House and picked a fight with Saddam, same old evil Saddam.
So there was this spirit in the protests of 1991. This feeling that this was our shot. Our time. Finally we'd have our great war. Make our mark. We'd have our little piece of the 60s.
The war lasted three days.
In my small Southern California town, Claremont, we had our protests every night before the war. We gathered at the corner of Foothill and Indian Hill, the epicenter of our tiny town, and held up signs for the rush hour traffic. Tired car commuters in stop and go traffic, urged to "honk for peace." Wearily.
I was photographed there on the corner, a sign reading "Support our boys! Persue Peace!" in one hand (I never was one for spelling) and a peace sign in the other. When the issue of the Pomona Daily Bulletin with my photo in it came out, my mom took it to work and hung it on the wall, even though she was an English teacher. My dad told me how proud he was of me, but still didn't let me go to LA for the big protests that weekend.