Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I use the analogy all the time - that I feel like the last man to get on the helicopter leaving the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975.
Maybe it's because I didn't serve in the war and maybe it's because the news images of that day are burned in my brain. I searched for a photo of that - the Vietnamese clinging to the rails of the chopper hoping to escape as it pulled off the roof. But I couldn't find it.
I did get to review a lot of grisly photos of the war, and some almost artistic shots like this helicopter blasting people from the sky.
I knew a few people who died in the war, but my close friends all - like me - were able to avoid it either through joining the Navy, failing the physical or just dumb luck. I dropped out of college in 1968 and was 1A status for over a year and didn't get called. Some angel was sitting on my shoulder.
One amigo refused induction and won the legal argument.
Today the U.S. is full of Vietnamese restaurants, we buy shoes made in Hanoi and Vietnamese and Hmong children are so numerous in California schools that you can get a job teacher without a credential if you can speak the language.
I wonder if we will ever be able to say the same things about Iraq?