Flower Power was a symbol of passive resistance. It was a form of non-violent protest. Rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War the term was coined as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Young people embraced the movement by wearing clothes in bright colors and prints with embroidered flowers. They decorated themselves with flowers – wore garlands of woven flowers in their hair. But the most memorable tactic was the distribution flowers during protests by giving them to the police, soldiers, politicians and the public, becoming known as flower children. The iconic image of a young man inserting a flower into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s gun pretty much sums up the movement. It defined a moment in time. Ultimately it was a failure as the result was multiple deaths and injuries of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators on many college campuses in the US at the hands of National Guardsmen, policemen, and even active military personnel.
The shoot first mentality has persisted and grown stronger within the military. And where do many police forces recruit their new officers? From the military. Not a coincidence. In 1970, 4 students were killed and 9 injured when National Guards fired their guns into a group of students on the campus of Kent State. Ten days later 2 students were killed and 12 wounded in similar circumstances at Jackson State University. It took 4 years before the trial of the Guardsmen was concluded with the charges being dismissed. The judge stated in his ruling “It is vital that state and National Guard officials not regard this decision as authorizing or approving the use of force against demonstrators, whatever the occasion of the issue involved. Such use of force is, and was, deplorable.” Further then President Nixon established the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, known as the Scranton Commission. The Commission concluded that the shootings were “unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
Rose a deep red recalls love’s sacrifice
A velvet reminder of love lost
Pluck the petal the soul entice
To recall death’s heavy cost
All flowers taunt the grave
Daisies ever white
Mock what they gave
This Reverse Etheree is just a little remembrance that the more things change the more they stay the same. And no, I am not giving up hope for change nor am I going to stop trying to change myself and the world around me.