947 Saybrook

Senior year, I was encouraged each time I walked into Dave Ryugo’s room in Saybrook College, because honesty is encouraging, and so is a sense of humor, albeit a dark one. Opposite the fireplace, above a battered couch, Dave and his roommates had painted one wall of their room with the message “Get Fucked For Your Country.” They had surrounded the message with psychedelic colors.

Unhappily, the message is as powerful and appropriate today as it was in 1969-’70. Then thousands of young men from this country were dying or being maimed and wounded in a war that has since been widely recognized as insane. It was perpetrated by old men who were dishonest or dumb or both.

Today young citizens of this country are fighting elsewhere in wars that will one day be recognized as insane. Like the war in Viet Nam, today’s wars are the result of the greed, political aspirations, and stupidity of old men who get to stay home.

In the case of each of the wars, an uncountable number of civilians – citizens of other nations -have died or have been wounded and frightened nearly to death. Many of those who have survived the bombing and the shelling and the missiles have turned on the country responsible for the destruction and death, thus making matters much worse for that country, which is the country referred to in the writing on the wall.

In a yearbook photo, the message on Dave Ryugo’s wall was altered. It read “Get Rocked For Your Country.” I felt that was a shame. The original message was powerful for its honesty, its dark humor, its justifiable profanity in the face of a much greater and more deadly obscenity, which was the war itself, and its message of resistance. I was encouraged each time I walked in the door and saw it.

– Bill Littlefield