A new book of Kurt Vonnegut’s letters is coming out. This one was reprinted in Letters of Note:
November 28, 1967
To Draft Board #1,
My son Mark Vonnegut is registered with you. He is now in the process of requesting classification as a conscientious objector. I thoroughly approve of what he is doing. It is in keeping with the way I have raised him. All his life he has learned hatred for killing from me.
I was a volunteer in the Second World War. I was an infantry scout, saw plenty of action, was finally captured and served about six months as a prisoner of war in Germany. I have a Purple Heart. I was honorably discharged. I am entitled, it seems to me, to pass on to my son my opinion of killing. I don’t even hunt or fish any more. I have some guns which I inherited, but they are covered with rust.
This attitude toward killing is a matter between my God and me. I do not participate much in organized religion. I have read the Bible a lot. I preach, after a fashion. I write books which express my disgust for people who find it easy and reasonable to kill.
We say grace at meals, taking turns. Every member of my family has been called upon often to thank God for blessings which have been ours. What Mark is doing now is in the service of God, Whose Son was exceedingly un-warlike.
There isn’t a grain of cowardice in this. Mark is a strong, courageous young man. What he is doing requires more guts than I ever had—and more decency.
My family has been in this country for five generations now. My ancestors came here to escape the militaristic madness and tyranny of Europe, and to gain the freedom to answer the dictates of their own consciences. They and their descendents have been good citizens and proud to be Americans. Mark is proud to be an American, and, in his father’s opinion, he is being an absolutely first-rate citizen now.
He will not hate.
He will not kill.
There’s no hope in that. There’s no hope in war.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
One of the great features of the Green House court is the proximity to the action. Imagine trying to get courtside seats or luxury boxes at a Celtics game. Not going to happen without a big check. But walk through the doors on a Saturday and you can sit where the rich people do at every NBA game. And our concessions (read lunches) are better, too.
The CCSU lacrosse players send the kids off with a cheer after a few minutes of instruction Saturday. The older kids took a short campus tour with Justin and Danielle while the younger kids practiced baseball (hitting of a tee), football (kicking and catching), lacrosse (throwing, catching) and a little kickball.
Afterward, Central provided lunch and the kids watched the football game. We got a little wet, but the showers were short-lived.
Special thanks to CCSU for inviting the HCW kids and to Jim, Jim and Justin for organizing and shepherding the trip.
Emily Brennan interviews Katherine Boo, author of “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” in Guernica:
So you try to let the reader have a sense of this person and soul, as a recognizable human.The hope is for the reader to engage with them as individuals and see how these people really do get around social obstacles, when there is a limited distribution of opportunities, when there are institutional problems, be it police corruption or poor public hospitals and schools.