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Interview with Ron Castille

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Castille, Ronald D. ; McKiernan, Stephen


Ronald D. Castille served on the US Supreme Court in Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2014 and was promoted to the Chief Justice in 2008, staying until 2014. Castille retired from office at the age of 70. He received his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Auburn University. He joined the U.S Marine Corps and received several awards along his journey. Castille received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law after his medical retirement from the Marine Corps.




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McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Ron Castille
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: REV
Date of interview: 16 July 1997
(Start of Interview)

SM (00:00:05):
So, I am going to do that here today as well. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule. First question I would like to ask deals with the issue of, how much time do we have today? We have about an hour?

RC (00:00:19):
Yeah. Because we have to take a break at about three o'clock real quick to go ahead and get free ice cream sundaes.

SM (00:00:26):
And then we can come back?

RC (00:00:27):
Yeah, they are bringing them to the floor.

SM (00:00:28):
Oh great.

RC (00:00:29):
I guess some kind of commercial deal by the [inaudible].

SM (00:00:34):
I saw that in the hallway there, near the elevator. First question is today I have seen a lot of the media that commentators like George Will, I have even heard [inaudible] and several individuals, politicians from both the Democratic and Republican side who will look at the issues facing America today and the problems we have in America today and they will pinpoint them back to when the boomers were young basically blaming the problems on boomers for what is happening in America today. I would like your thoughts, just your personal thoughts from whether that is true historically, and from your own personal experience what your thoughts on the boomers’ impact and linkage with the problems of today in America.

RC (00:01:19):
I guess it did impact society in that just the opposite of what JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Well that era sort of got away from that what I can do for [inaudible]. They go their individual rights elevated above everything else. It became kind of selfish to some extent in that the focus was not on the greater good of society but was on whatever made them happy. Hence all that stuff about free love, and dodging the draft, and what is good for me is what is right. So the focus became inward rather than outward. And we're probably only just starting to come back around.

SM (00:02:14):
So, in a sense you are kind of in agreement with those social commentators that a lot of the things today in America, whether it be the breakup of the American family, which is of course the high divorce rate we see today, the drug culture amongst young people which is on the increase, some of the strife we have, the lack of respect oftentimes for authority figures. You see direct relation to the boomer. It is a bloomer quality.

RC (00:02:38):
Yeah, I see that. It is all to that time. I kind of grew up in the (19)50s. That was the country and the parents and the church, [inaudible] the institutions of government held in high esteem [inaudible] Vietnam [inaudible]. For me it is all [inaudible]. The nation where everybody thought, at one time they thought the marijuana was really bad [inaudible]. It might have been the drug of choices at the schools, at the law school in (19)69, (19)68, graduated in (19)71. Just one side were the juicers, which [inaudible] and the doper is the one that smoked marijuana. I have got people that were experimenting with drugs and [inaudible] it is I guess the taboo that drugs were that [inaudible].

SM (00:03:37):
Check your [inaudible]. That will do fine. What do you feel is the overall impact of the boomer generation, if you look at the year 1997 as we are heading into 1998? This is kind of a two-part question. What has been the overall impact of boomers on America? Because boomers right now are reaching 50. Because boomers are categorized as people who were born between 1946 and 1964. And what would you say would be the positive qualities and the negative qualities of the boomer generation?

RC (00:04:19):
The negative, some of that I just spoke of. The elevation of individual rights over the collective common good. I guess the positive things, sure they make people a little more questioning rather than just going along with the institutions of society and questions about how they function, and some of the problems they have been ignored were brought to the forefront. So, there was more of a typical questioning of what was going around their society. The civil rights movements, the [inaudible], which was partly the boomer generation at the same time. And the [inaudible] all these different rights. Like the stop and search, and the suppression it was forward in the (19)60s. To some extent that is healthy questioning the society and what it is all about, what it does and how it handles some of the problems. But because we're better off today than we were back then, certain groups are always complaining about racism, if you could transport them from today back to the (19)60s you would find a totally different problem. I went to Auburn in Alabama, I graduated in (19)66, and I think in (19)65 was when they integrated [inaudible]. [inaudible] about diversity at Auburn. So, it was an all-white school [inaudible] civil rights because of that. So, I guess it was helping that they questioned society what was provided to people. So healthy skepticism and a willingness to make things better [inaudible].

SM (00:06:16):
One of the things that I am trying to get at is, because I work in a college environment today, and boomers were young once. There is a lot of activism happening during that era, but the overall impact that boomers have had on their children. I bring this in because I feel that looking at a term that was often used in those times, the generation gap. That was the world war two generation, the boomers, the gap that happened there. And now if there is such a gap between boomers and their children, which is generation Xers. Could you comment on your thoughts of that time using your own metaphor of your life? Any experiences you may have had regarding that generation gap. And also comparing that to a generation gap of today.

RC (00:07:00):
I guess back in the (19)60s there was a real generation gap once people started wearing long hair and listening to rock and roll. So yeah, that really was not the change or the gap that they referred to was [inaudible] age and changing totally. That Glenn Miller era, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. I think they [inaudible] trending styles. [inaudible] with whatever they were told and what was handed out to them. [inaudible] the IRME sort of started going back to as far as I can tell is trying to get more altruistic and involved in society [inaudible], no protests [inaudible].

SM (00:07:53):
Occasionally there will be protests, especially over issues like lack of representation on a student newspaper. African-American students might do that, and that is happened in the last couple of years at different universities. Lack of representation, but other than that no. I have not seen a whole lot.

RC (00:08:10):
That is what's changed. They are more willing to be, I would not say docile, but believe that the institution of society serves a function, and they have some good. [inaudible] just like, let us tear it down and start all over, [inaudible]. Then an organization like the SDS or weatherman frequency that we have.

SM (00:08:36):

RC (00:08:36):
No that is the difference, I think [inaudible 00:08:38] were things that made this country strong over the years, morality. But unless you're just like us aides. I think they like to drink beer and stuff more, do not they?

SM (00:08:48):
It is a definite yes.

RC (00:08:51):
Well that is not a norm back in the (19)50s.

SM (00:08:54):
Party time was a very important term. This takes right into another aspect, activism. Activism was always an adjective to describe many of the boomers, but we know from studying sociology and so forth that only 15 percent of the 76 million boomers were really active. It could be liberals or conservatives, but it really got involved in some aspect of the issues of the time. And 85 percent really just went on with their daily lives, so to speak. Your thoughts on the concept of activism at that time? And whether that activism has transferred into boomers lives as they have approached 50. And whether they have been able to transfer that activism to their children.

RC (00:09:37):
I do not know about their children, [inaudible] children. Activism, the most active people of every-every color. [inaudible] and marching, and not willing to have a rational conversation, not willing to work [inaudible] active people of that time. I went to law school. I was I just at the battle in Vietnam. I spent 15 months in a hospital in Virginia. And at that time there was all those campus protests and all that stuff. It seemed that Virginia, [inaudible] got a small minority out there just yelling and waving the Viet Cong flag [inaudible]. Well, the institution was like college campus, functioning student newspaper, fraternities and things like that. So there probably was a small group of activists. I do not even think those people are activists anymore unless they are [inaudible] communities trying to make their [inaudible] traditional [inaudible] school and things like that [inaudible].

SM (00:10:41):
[inaudible], yeah.

RC (00:10:42):
If they were to walk out today, and you say how many other people are there like this? [inaudible
]. My perspective, [inaudible] is tainted to some extent. There have always been elected officials where we could have bettered society.

SM (00:10:59):
Would not you say though that what you're doing with your life is carrying out some of that activism. Going on to become a lawyer, going on to become a judge. And then you ran for political office. One of the most admirable qualities-

RC (00:11:10):
I am a [inaudible], I am not an activist. I was always involved in things. I was in the student body in high school, I went to Air Corps Marines, and that drove me to [inaudible] always be the best. And [inaudible] in student counsel in college too. Senator [inaudible]. So, he started to do that, I was always active in that sense and in that sense without more [inaudible] the existing system. When I was in law school I was the Vice President of the law school, I was one of the editors of the-the law school students’ newspaper. I was doing that. And I was elected DA two times here in the Supreme Court. It is not activism, I think they look at activism as destructive kind of stuff. I am more of a dragging on of tradition. Some people would call me reactionary.

SM (00:12:12):
But I can give you a [inaudible] Harry told me about that if you're talking about your contribution to society being a judge and a lawyer, that you got involved with the Vietnam Memorial here in Philadelphia. And the contribution to society and showed activism there of seeing something that needed to be done and doing it. That was certainly activism at its finest.

RC (00:12:33):
Yeah, that was a healing sort of thing. Everybody does a preliminary when I was in law school. There was probably a bunch of guys in Vietnam [inaudible] was an assistant DA. There were guys that he knew and served [inaudible]. I brought people all over the city. We have talked about it, [inaudible] publicity that I have because of the [inaudible]. That was sort of a healing tone. It felt like [inaudible].

SM (00:13:01):
[inaudible] year anniversary coming up.

RC (00:13:02):
Yeah [inaudible]. We did a good job on that one [inaudible] $2 million. I was actually and owner of the memorial at one time because [inaudible] gave us a property but on the condition that we turn it over to the Fairmount Park after we are through. But the Fairmount Park did not want it because I know [inaudible] raised X hundred thousands of dollars more from-

SM (00:13:29):
The ends of this issue a [inaudible].

RC (00:13:32):
[inaudible] I am on the board of the boy scouts, I am the US Ward[inaudible] handicap people are [inaudible] some kid of activities that help. Then we have sports [inaudible] it was more of the traditional sense of prolong what I think are good things-

SM (00:13:57):
[inaudible] the two major issues of boomers was certainly the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. And your point-blank thoughts on how important the boomers were in ending this war. Whether it is direct response to the students who were protesting on college campuses. Again, probably that 15 percent that were involved. How important were they in ending the war and what was the reason that the war ended?

RC (00:14:22):
They probably had some input in it. They actually got to see war a lot more than we did because of television. The Korea War, they did not have towers and TV and what brought things home pretty radically to the people. And then [inaudible] it was in your living room. So [inaudible] was [inaudible] a lot of the protest. None of them want to be there and get shot [inaudible] pressure. Probably rethink their positions. And then a lot of people came with us military guys that came back from Vietnam and started raising hell about it. [inaudible] what they did [inaudible] return their medals and speak out against the was saying [inaudible] the whole thing was misguided and screwed up. I think when those kinds of people started raising their voices too-

SM (00:15:17):
And their [inaudible]

RC (00:15:17):

SM (00:15:17):

RC (00:15:18):
Yeah, they have [inaudible] saw them on TV [inaudible] educational channel. I think it is probably one of those [inaudible]. Yeah, when those people start speaking up [inaudible] students handled with care. We do not want people coming back and complaining about the screwed up [inaudible] lost. The thing was prolonged for years. They played a role [inaudible].

SM (00:15:44):
Also so when Jack Smith said from ABC news, because I interviewed him last fall he point blank said that the main reason why this war ended was when the body bags started coming home and mothers and fathers and middle America saw it on television. Said there's no other reason why, that is the reason why. Do you agree with that?

RC (00:16:04):
I absolutely agree with that. The first one where you could get a 15 minutes of combat right at dinner. This was the-the first-time war was an actual war, the reality of it was brought home by the [inaudible]. We did not get to see the whole thing. That is probably the military's biggest mistake was letting the reporters out into the field to do whatever they wanted.

SM (00:16:31):
Had more controls on that during the Gulf war. Remember they had to stay back there and they did not allow them.

RC (00:16:36):
They had to stay in the rear with the gear and they give you a brief.

SM (00:16:39):
How important were the boomers in the civil rights movement?

RC (00:16:43):
They were important too. I think other than the blacks down in south, if nobody came down to help them it would probably have still been the same. And the college kids were spending their summers down there. [inaudible] that I was in the south at the time so I can put the [inaudible] tremendously. Contested the old John Crow laws.

SM (00:17:04):
Have you changed your opinions at all on the boomers for the last 25 years? Your thoughts when you were a college student at Auburn, and then when you were a young professional and coming back from the war. Then to go through rehab and then now as a judge. Do you look at things differently or are you pretty consistent in your thoughts?

RC (00:17:22):
I am probably pretty consistent in my thoughts. A bunch of them were jerks, a bunch of them were cowards, [inaudible]. Or cutting back on the use of drugs. Some guys that served in Vietnam were addicts and stuff like that. I respected those individuals. I actually respected the people that said [inaudible]. The others I [inaudible] wen to Sweden and Canada. I hope they never come back. [inaudible]. Those individuals that totally evaded all responsibility.

SM (00:18:10):
[inaudible] all the respect of, if you were to have a meeting with several of those individuals to sit down and have a civil dialogue, or you just would not even deal with them?

RC (00:18:19):
I have dealt with them. One guy was John [inaudible] who we dealt with.

SM (00:18:23):
That is right, the one that Howard stern destroyed.

RC (00:18:30):
He was really helpful to us in [inaudible]. But he never served in the military, he was a war protestor himself. But no, he did not go to Canada or wherever. He might have had a deferment and everything. But I guess those people were misguided to some extent in that they were protesting the war and did not even have content. They started seeing the light after [inaudible 00:18:57]. So I work with people like that. The ones I do not like nowadays are the ones who were in Vietnam when they were in the military when they [inaudible].

SM (00:19:12):
Oh, I know that because I have been going down to them a lot the last couple of years to the ceremonies on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. And I will never forget that my conversation with Joe Galloway. I do not know if you know him?

RC (00:19:24):
[inaudible] yeah.

SM (00:19:24):
Yeah, he was US news [inaudible] and wrote report, he wrote When Were Young Once. That was an [inaudible]. I interviewed him and he said, that is the thing that upsets him the most. You cannot believe how many Vietnam imposters there are in there at the ceremonies. Yes, and they lie and they sit there and they actually have a medals on. There is no question that is the... We have got a target there because that is what Joe was talking about too.

RC (00:19:50):
[inaudible] he was the worst of them all. [inaudible]. It was a human example of stark cowardice [inaudible].

SM (00:20:02):
Later in the interview we are going to go over some names here, but now that you have mentioned his name, your thoughts on that book in retrospect. Whether you bought the book or have you read the book, your thoughts about that, knowing about 1967, that he knew back then that the war was bad mistake.

RC (00:20:20):
He was a coward, he did not [inaudible]. He gave a speech to Valley Forge Military Academy, a graduating class. Mentioned him [inaudible] in the military [inaudible] say what you think is correct. And this otherwise, and not mention [inaudible] power he was when he came to his conclusion that the war was wrong in (19)67. That is something like seven to 10,000 dead. But he did not say one thing to Johnson. [inaudible] and just never said one thing about it until 20 years later.

SM (00:20:54):
And one of the characteristics that boomers used to say, we are the most unique generation in American history. We are different than any generation that proceeded us. And because of the times with the civil rights, protests against the Vietnam War, the women's movement, the Native American movement, there were a lot of movements at that time. There was somewhat of an arrogance and the cockiness that the boomers at that time felt they were the most unique generation. Some may still feel that. Your thoughts on that terminology that the boomer generation is the most unique generation in American history.

RC (00:21:25):
They were just a collection of assholes. Probably the most unique generation we have ever had is the people that moved out of the east coast of the United States. They were going into Kentucky and Tennessee. I always go to these state parks and I look at these things and say, man can you imagine somebody driving a wagon through this place. [inaudible] unbelievable hardship to settle in a country. So the people who moved out of the original colonies and moved across the nation to California who's encompassing more than one generation. But the boomer generation [inaudible] danger was you might get drafted and go to Vietnam. Most of the time you will not be near that much danger in Vietnam.

SM (00:22:15):
Of the 3 million that served in Vietnam, how many actually served on the front lines?

RC (00:22:20):
[inaudible] something about that where they said for every soldier [inaudible] had had nine people packing them up.

SM (00:22:24):
This feeling that many hand that we are going to change the world in a positive way, that was a mentality in 1968, in 1997. Have they?

RC (00:22:38):
The generation before them is the generation that changed the world, the world war two people when they came back. American was a different place pre-world war two and then after world war two, [inaudible] the country up until the Bush [inaudible 00:22:55] Strongly against communism, Vietnam being part of it. But they held on against communism, and when those individuals that came back [inaudible] I am serving four years in the war I was just strongly as a country man [inaudible].

SM (00:23:14):
I referred earlier to the fact that sociologists and historians will say that 15 percent of the boomers, which is 76 million, really got involved with some sort of activism. And that could be liberals or conservatives. Whatever their stance was at that time on different issues. Some have said that that is a lessening of the impact of this generation has had, because they will say only 15 percent were really involved, 85 percent went on with their lives and did not really care about the issues. And thus, when you look at today and you see that their children do not vote and they do not vote that that 85 percent is having greater impact than the 15 percent as they have gotten older. Your thoughts on that and whether you feel that that kind of mentality is lessening the impact again on the boomers and their involvement in the issues of the time. Whether it be against racism, sexism, some of the issues linked to the movements.

RC (00:24:04):
I do not really know. Are you saying that they had no impact at 15 percent?

SM (00:24:12):
No, they had impact, but by saying that they had only 15 percent of them were involved was really 85 percent were not involved.

RC (00:24:21):
And they were involved in it at some extent in that they were carrying on the tradition of our society, the institutions, home, family, jobs.

SM (00:24:32):
They were involved.

RC (00:24:32):
To that extent though they have been part of what America is all about. [inaudible] by the activists. People talking about the way that you should be. Why should we take everything verbatim or per se or [inaudible] follow along, let us have some questions. Which I think I think that generation did that asking questions. And it did help change the [inaudible] problems of society. In the (19)60s with the civil rights movement, all this questioning of the status quo that everybody could be talking about it and [inaudible] who has to decide [inaudible] the debates started back in [inaudible] there was no debate in the (19)50s [inaudible].

SM (00:25:25):
I have been to the Vietnam Memorial, we got four more minutes on this side of the tape, I have been to the Vietnam Memorial many times. I am sure you have in Washington. Obviously when that wall was built, it was meant to be a nonpolitical statement. It was to pay on honor tribute to those who served. Knowing that in this nation the Vietnam veterans were not treated properly when they returned. And it was in a Jan Scrubs and the people involved in that, they did a tremendous job. And they certainly have encouraged many morals around the country like you that were involved in here as a nonpolitical entity. So, we were getting into the aspect of one of the goals of that wall, which was the healing. The healing of not only the Vietnam veterans and their families and loved ones. But just basically the divisions that took place in America at that time, even by those who were for and against the war. Those who served those who did not serve. Your thoughts on the healing process in America as 1997 with respect to, has the nation healed from this war? Which was one of the goals of the wall. And has it healed up certain groups more than others? And in what areas do we still have a long way to go with respect to healing and bringing our nation together because there were so many divisions at that time?

RC (00:26:46):
Well actually the first thing that brought the healing was when they had the unknown soldier from Vietnam [inaudible] at Washington. People filed by that by the millions I guess. [inaudible] realize, yes Anne.

Anne (00:27:06):
Pardon me, I just want to let you know that it is ice cream.

RC (00:27:08):

SM (00:27:12):
People started filing by that.

RC (00:27:15):
[inaudible] then realizing that this guy gave up his life for his [inaudible] in Vietnam, it is still a dead American [inaudible]. That was really the first step, that soldier. And then the second one was the wall. When they built that that caused some problems too because to look at a black gash in another [inaudible]. It was pretty impressive to see [inaudible] two of those were really the beginning to getting over the Vietnam war. [inaudible] when it was the Gulf war [inaudible] when I served in [inaudible] to Washington [inaudible] started painting. There is still parts of society that think there is no healing. The blacks are real with the world. I think most of the problems commonly caused by Vietnam are probably behind us.

SM (00:28:17):
[inaudible]. Again, and we will go to the ice cream. The issue of the divisions. I have been to the wall and had a chance to try to get an ambiance or feel. I feel I must be there to get a feel amongst the veterans as I talked to them. I Got to know Jan and Joe Galloway and some of the people down there. I have brought students to the wall. I do hear things like we can never forgive Bill Clinton, he was the typical draft dodger. We will never forgive Jane Fonda. And obviously she's a lightning rod. But the question is, is this an issue in the lives of Vietnam veterans or is it an issue in your life that, I have moved on with my life time heals everything, the wall was doing a great job, but the divisions of that time, tremendous divisiveness, the lax, the shouting, the disrespect, all these qualities that some people may say have been transferred today into our everyday dialogue. Is it a direct result of that time? And where is the healing over some of these things?

RC (00:29:25):
I guess we are pretty [inaudible]. I do not think people like Clinton would go to clearly manipulate the system. To an extent they did not like [inaudible] because he had [inaudible]. One-time government had [inaudible] of the guy [inaudible]. The cherry-picked people on the [inaudible]. People like [inaudible] Clinton did it [inaudible] then he bailed out and went to Canada.

SM (00:29:53):
Fulbright helped him, Senator Fulbright was one of the biggest advocates against the war eventually.

RC (00:30:00):
I will not say too much, [inaudible] politicians can be.

SM (00:30:02):
Do you want to get that ice cream now, and [inaudible]. What are your thoughts on people like David Horowitz, or anybody from the left at that era who have become conservatives to the extreme right. Which David Horowitz has become. And of course, he was the editor at Ramparts magazine, now he is one of the leading conservatives going around the country bashing the boomers who were protesting the war and issues of civil rights. Your thoughts on those people who were on the left, who have just totally did an about face and that are condemning those who did not.

RC (00:30:45):
Maybe they saw the light. Maybe they saw that they were wrong. You cannot condemn a person. You can point it out that he was wrong, and then try to make amends for it. That just sounds like what the guy is trying to do. Could have made a moon [inaudible].

SM (00:31:02):
He is one of the biggest names out there now, of people on the college campus, speaking to a lot of different issues like that.

RC (00:31:09):
People actually come here?

SM (00:31:10):
Yes, he is drawing good numbers.

RC (00:31:13):
I was always amazed too [inaudible] I was running for DA or something. They said come [inaudible] be like two people, three people.

SM (00:31:29):
So [inaudible].

RC (00:31:33):
So, I guess the liberal [inaudible] sort of party in the background. Have you ever studied [inaudible] to some extent he was.

SM (00:31:43):
Just check this man. What do you feel your impact has been on society as a boomer? A person who now is in a very prestigious position. But if you were to look at your, as boomers felt they were going to be change agents for the betterment of the world, do you feel as a boomer or a little bit older than a boomer that you fall in that category?

RC (00:32:10):
[inaudible] I was born in (19)44.

SM (00:32:13):
You are in that area because a lot of people [inaudible] feel they are boomers right up to 55 and 56, even though they do not fall into the category.

RC (00:32:23):
[inaudible] maybe I have had some impact on society. Being an assistant DA, clearing the streets of criminals has some impact. [inaudible] being the DA of the city. Just fix it. It has had some impact on society. And with all the people on death row, it does not matter who [inaudible]. And then this job I am in now is in Speak with Justice, we have an impact on the law an- the structure of [inaudible]. I am trying to bring our hardcore [inaudible] towards the leftist positions [inaudible] personal rights [inaudible] everything else.

SM (00:33:12):
Do you see yourself running for political office again down the road?

RC (00:33:18):
Well I do not know, I could probably be in this job for 20 years [inaudible]. But what I am doing in this job is high level work. [inaudible] respect most of us. Mostly the lawyers. A larger section of society, never can say never. That is what my buddy Bob Dole is going to be president. I might have a shot at the US Supreme Court. What does a [inaudible] war veteran [inaudible]. I might someday [inaudible]. The way politics are now it is a whole different subject. Airing it all on TV and all negative with your opponents.

SM (00:34:04):
What is the lasting legacy of the boomer generation?

RC (00:34:09):
It would probably be much [inaudible] anything specific. [inaudible] that make people a little more skeptical and questioning about what goes on in society. [inaudible] anybody suggest anything.

SM (00:34:26):
[inaudible] would say women have gotten better equality over time because of the movement.

RC (00:34:34):
I guess I could [inaudible] civil rights.

SM (00:34:37):
Straight into the [inaudible] lasting legacy, but historians always have this mentality. Well the best history books are yet to be written. And or the best history books will be written in 50 years or 25 years. I am trying to look down the road 25 to 50 years when supposedly the best books are going to be written. Well, how do you think historians are going to treat that period from the late (19)60s and early (19)70s, during those times. The impact on America is changing [inaudible].

RC (00:35:07):
I think they are going to probably see the impact on the world, what we did to the world specifically [inaudible] and some of its allies’ cause [inaudible] that is 11 a year [inaudible] to some extent totalitarian. But one thing is our system of government and our economics system and the freedoms that are [inaudible]. Someone is going to [inaudible] that would be known as tox Americana. Just remind [inaudible] you got to go back to the early (19)60s or (19)70s. That is when there was to some extent [inaudible]. You can always go back to world war two, and then America stepping into Korea. [inaudible] a stronger face against communism. [inaudible] Russia is a [inaudible] country now. I guess the Russians must be [inaudible] to [inaudible] stay strong. And then we go in there and [inaudible] collapse. Nothing [inaudible]. To an extent all the generations had their war too.

SM (00:36:24):
Back to a question we talked about earlier about the healing process within the generation. Do you think it's possible to heal within a generation if the differences in opinions were so extreme? If so, is it important to try to assist in this healing process? Some of this book, project dealing with metaphors people's lives and their opinions historically and personally, is to say that there is no really clear-cut answers. There just needs to be better understanding how people felt. So that this mentality of saying that my opinion's better than someone else's or the pointing of fingers. We need to just really sit down and try to understand people better. How do you feel again about this healing? The effort to heal, Especially from the divisions of the war.

RC (00:37:12):
[inaudible] I guess all you really need to do is talk to a person. [inaudible]. I will never forgive the people [inaudible] Canada. [inaudible] Clinton [inaudible] Jane Fonda always preaching about the war itself [inaudible]. And then there is [inaudible] Americans [inaudible] let us lose the women thing or just being [inaudible].

SM (00:37:48):
How would you compare people who say that the Vietnam War, it may not have been the civil war in America of the 1860s, but it still was a civil war and it was a coming civil war. We were pretty close to a civil war. And your thoughts on people who thought that the many people went to their graves after the civil war without healing toward the other side or forgiving the other side. And that this generation of boomers are going to be going to their graves with still the bitterness in their heart. Thoughts on that kind of thought.

RC (00:38:24):
Well I do not really know if anybody is bitter anymore. I lost a leg in Vietnam and I am not bitter about having [inaudible]. I do not think there is a lot of people that to me seem to give much thought about it anymore. [inaudible] every waking moment or dwelling moment. [inaudible] is 25 years old and whether it is [inaudible].

SM (00:38:58):
How about this issue with trust? People will say, and again, I am using terminology, but we sense that there is a lack of trust in America today toward elected officials, people in positions of power and responsibility, whether they be Governors, Congressmen, Senators, principles of high schools.

RC (00:39:17):
Supreme Court Justices.

SM (00:39:18):
Right, Supreme Court Justices, Ministers, CEO, heads of corporations. Because the establishment, there was an attack against the establishment at that time. And that some of the mentality is never trusted people in positions of power and responsibility. And somehow that carried on to the children of today the Xers. Your thoughts on that and where we are in America with respect to trust and how serious that is in American thing.

RC (00:39:43):
I think I mentioned earlier we had a sense of skepticism in the institutions of [inaudible]. Skepticism is still there. Yeah, maybe it is good [inaudible] you cannot just go [inaudible], I think that is just skepticism which [inaudible].

SM (00:40:12):
The lack of trust all the young people have [inaudible] many boomers who are now over 50.

RC (00:40:16):
I do not know if it is a lack of trust or if it is skepticism.

SM (00:40:17):

RC (00:40:18):
We accept it we just do not [inaudible] newspapers so they would do something [inaudible]. Not some big investigation. [inaudible] as they are. [inaudible] say what is this really about, was it a political move, was it this and that. So since [inaudible] question by the press, it is the next step that may be more cynical that everybody else.

SM (00:40:52):
As person who served and went to war, lost a leg, but really went when your nation called, do you feel strongly toward those who did the same? And I will come back, what are your thoughts as a person cared about America and then saw elected officials lie to America, Lyndon Johnson and some people say the Gulf and [inaudible] revolution was made up. We never really should have gone to war. So how Johnson treated the war, obviously you have already made commentary on McNamara, who ran the war. Or did not [inaudible]. And then what you saw with Nixon and Watergate. And then just a lack of trust in public officials because they lied to the Americans. And yet you went to Vietnam, served your country. And then you see the politicians back home lying. Just your thoughts. It does not have to do with you being a Republican or Democrat, just being human. Just your thoughts on those leaders of those times.

RC (00:41:49):
Yeah, there's a lot of veterans [inaudible]. I remember I had taken [inaudible 00:41:59]. I think we were sitting [inaudible] book and donate it to some veteran’s hospital or something [inaudible]. What was the question [inaudible]?

SM (00:42:16):
Just your thoughts on the impact it had on you after you served, came back and then saw all this and witnessed all this. What you are feeling as a young man. And then but you still went on and served your country and you are going [inaudible] office. And you have done a lot of good things, but still it had to have an impact on you in some way.

RC (00:42:34):
[inaudible] impact on me was [inaudible] when I was in Vietnam. It only took me about two weeks to figure out [inaudible] screwed up. And then that is the first thing you did when you got there they sat us [inaudible] rules of engagement. Do not fire at them unless you are [inaudible] casually. Then they would send you out on some stupid patrol when you come back, they'd send you out again on another stupid patrol. [inaudible] that is what we did, that is how it was doomed to fail. [inaudible].

SM (00:43:17):
Did you feel when you were going to go to political office, I am never going to be in like Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson or Robert McNamara? [inaudible 00:43:2] that was an inspiration to be better than them?

RC (00:43:27):
I guess I did go over to [inaudible] teach you a system to use [inaudible] trial advocacy and structure of the DA's office. Got these new DA's in [inaudible] your word is your bond [inaudible] people trust you [inaudible]. [inaudible] that is what people would trust [inaudible]. There is always going to be a first for people [inaudible]. So maybe let us say all these guys filled in like they did with Johnson [inaudible] suckered into a war that we could have won but did not win.

SM (00:44:17):
All the events when you read on from that period, from high school, college years and the years that you served, one event in America, one event that stands out of all others that had the greatest impact on you, what was that event?

RC (00:44:31):
Event in America?

SM (00:44:34):
Yeah, at that time it could be in Vietnam or there was one specific instance. People say the assassination of John Kennedy. Everything is different, everybody said a different [inaudible].

RC (00:44:49):

SM (00:44:54):
Kennedy was that experience of his dad telling him that.

RC (00:44:56):

SM (00:45:04):
Experience informed who you are, that you were injured?

RC (00:45:15):
[inaudible] a different person, that is for sure. I will not stay in the [inaudible].

SM (00:45:16):
One of the terms that always comes out of the youth of the (19)60s is the concept of empowerment, feeling that my voice counts, that people are listening to me. And so students on college campuses, even though they may have been radical and doing a lot of these things, there was a sense of maybe some might say euphoria, but there was a sense of empowerment that I can be a change agent. I am going to help end this war. I am going to help have civil rights and equality for a lot of different people in America. Do you feel this empowerment has continued amongst the 70 something million boomers as they have gone into adult life. And do you feel they have transferred this to their children, this sense of empowerment, which is basically self-esteem?

RC (00:45:56):
I guess that is one of the changes that happened in the (19)60s from the (19)50s. It seemed like in the (19)50s and early (19)60s the older you were the more you were respected and listened to. If you were young you were just the opposite, you were not listened to. So [inaudible] the younger folks with the experience of [inaudible] free speech [inaudible] school [inaudible] wrote an editorial about that. [inaudible] are you saying what a good thing it was [inaudible] the university [inaudible] your kids.

SM (00:46:38):

RC (00:46:39):
That is changed entirely. I guess Kennedy [inaudible] that when this started [inaudible]. And so, the-the thinking is I got him, a college kid, [inaudible] somebody ought to listen to him. But I think that still carries on, we still have young people today, we dismiss them just because they're young. Kids can have good ideas and kids can participate [inaudible 00:47:09]. That was probably one of the main [inaudible] in our society [inaudible].

SM (00:47:18):
What event do you think defines the boomers then? And not your personal experience, but if there was one event in that timeframe [inaudible] that really defines the boomers.

RC (00:47:28):
Obviously, I could not ignore the [inaudible] it was just what was happening. Civil rights and women's rights [inaudible].

SM (00:47:37):
Coalition of many things?

RC (00:47:38):
Yeah, [inaudible].

SM (00:47:44):
I am going to just list a lot of names here. Just your overall, maybe a couple of sentences, thoughts on each of them. Positive or negative, your thoughts on them and maybe the thoughts that boomers may have had for these people. The first two are Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden.

RC (00:48:00):
She was a traitor, she should still get prosecuted. I know she tried to apologize a couple of years ago [inaudible]. She has never be forgiven [inaudible]. I think somebody [inaudible] of her sitting in that anti-aircraft gun, [inaudible] Jane the star. And [inaudible] Vietnam [inaudible].

SM (00:48:18):
Tom Hayden.

RC (00:48:18):
I do not know if [inaudible] protester or hell raiser, [inaudible] in California [inaudible]. I saw that [inaudible].

SM (00:48:43):
I saw them at Kent State. I saw them at the fourth anniversary of the killings at Kent State, and they were not speaking, they came together. And I will never forget being in that room with them, talking about what happened at Kent State, it was amazing. But she was certainly different. How about Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin the-the Yippies.

RC (00:49:05):
They were just a bunch of nutty guys that is all. If today you saw them you would say, man what are these guys? It's like some kind of throwbacks or some kind of hippies.

SM (00:49:17):
You remember when Abbie Hoffman died, it was in the news. He died over in Bucks County, he had $2,500 in the bank and he had given all of the money away to help people. And he left a note, and the note said that he killed himself. He was an impressive man. But no one was ever listening to me so he just did not want to go on with his life because one was listening anymore. And I said, well maybe the eccentricity is on this man, but are many boomers feeling the same way who cared about the issues of that time? And maybe society is not treating those issues the same way as they did then. Like young people are not listening as much to those issues. And that is why it kind of affects more boomers than just an Abbie Hoffman. Are people listening anymore to some of those issues?

RC (00:50:05):
[inaudible] I did not forget what Abbie Hoffman [inaudible].

SM (00:50:16):
How about Dr. Benjamin Spock.

RC (00:50:19):
He probably always [inaudible]. I guess his philosophy was let your kids do [inaudible]. A lot of [inaudible].

SM (00:50:30):
Timothy Leary.

RC (00:50:33):
He is another crack pot. Oh, he was probably far more dangerous in that era. He would have [inaudible] I guess all types not just LSD, I think he was everything. [inaudible 00:50:47] take another drug [inaudible]. Some people would have followed that. Not specifically because he said it, but because there was this feeling of they were like yeah, it was not such a bad thing. [inaudible] not have the potential to really [inaudible] our society.

SM (00:51:05):
What about the black power advocates, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Kathleen Cleaver that whole group, the black power movement and their impact on America? And your thoughts on it.

RC (00:51:15):
They had some legitimate gripes, there is no doubt about that. The blacks were oppressed to some extent by systems of government and the institution of government, the police and all that stuff. They still are [inaudible] Martin Luther King. But he changed the system, non-violent, said violence was not a very good thing.

SM (00:51:41):
That leads me right into Dr. King, your thoughts on Dr. King and Malcolm X.

RC (00:51:48):
[inaudible] I was there when [inaudible]. Everybody in the south canceled their subscriptions to Time when they [inaudible] I think his impact is going to be greater [inaudible] radical change in the south. And he did not even know it too and he did it within the system, he used civil protest.

SM (00:52:19):
Thoughts on Malcolm X.

RC (00:52:22):
I guess Malcolm was [inaudible] he got other people to be in tune [inaudible] he would be secretly [inaudible] and all that stuff [inaudible]. He was a really good leader, he was [inaudible]. He was even more strict than Baptist rules and Catholic rules.

SM (00:52:47):
Some of the political leaders of that time and we're going to go into the presidents here. Just a few comments on Lyndon Johnson.

RC (00:52:54):
He was actually the most impacted society [inaudible] president. [inaudible] was passed under him. All the civil rights laws were passed under him. Medicare and Medicaid, he created that. That is [inaudible]. The housing act, I think he did that. I think he passed six or seven major legislation. Impact on us is [inaudible].

SM (00:53:30):
Then John Kennedy.

RC (00:53:33):
He did not do that much did he. There is a lot of myth about it was Lyndon Johnson that did the stuff. [inaudible]. So, the most of the things they say about him are not even his work. [inaudible].

SM (00:53:51):
Richard Nixon.

RC (00:53:53):
He would [inaudible]. He was part of I guess the old two government [inaudible]. That government was the be all and the end all [inaudible]. But he did open [inaudible]. Any thoughts, I guess he helped to end the Vietnam war. It has always been a weird [inaudible].

SM (00:54:19):
Your thoughts on that combination of Nixon and Kissinger because the fact that in 1968 when he came in and promised Vietnamization, that he was going to end the war but he would not say how he was going to end the war. We just went over the 30,000 point of deaths in Vietnam, which means when he became president over 28,000 more Americans died in Vietnam. It took him four to five years to pull out and your thoughts on, we know how many Vietnam veterans feel about McNamara, but how do you feel about Kissinger who succeeded him in the Nixon administration, and Nixon and how long it took them to get out.

RC (00:55:04):
I guess they were always of the mind to get out, but they wanted to get out with some kind of [inaudible]. Did not want to just pack up and pull out. There was nothing wrong with it, once you made a commitment you have allies working with you and there was a lot of people in Vietnam who work with us and if we just packed up and left they would be dead meat [inaudible]. But they stalled on that one too long. At least [inaudible] put Jim on the trail to [inaudible].

SM (00:55:44):
Is there a bitterness toward Kissinger like there is towards, not in... Is there some bitterness toward Kissinger though?

RC (00:56:00):
[inaudible 00:55:53]. Yes Anne?

Anne (00:56:00):

RC (00:56:03):
Okay. [inaudible] that is too slow and knew what they were doing. [inaudible].

SM (00:56:04):
How about Gerry Ford?

RC (00:56:10):
Gerry, [inaudible] Gerry. I know Gerry Ford. He was actually a good president. He surrounded himself with smart people. And I guess that idiot McNamara was [inaudible]

SM (00:56:27):
I do not think so.

RC (00:56:27):

SM (00:56:38):
A couple more names and we will be done. Can you [inaudible] on this [inaudible]. Some of the other names, George Wallace.

RC (00:56:46):
George, I knew George personally. He sign my diploma from Auburn, I have spoken to him several times. He was Governor[inaudible]. I knew him personally [inaudible] segregationist. Going back to the south of the (19)30s and the (19)20s, deeper Alabama [inaudible].

SM (00:57:11):
How about Hubert Humphrey?

RC (00:57:18):
[inaudible] I do not think he did much as far as I can tell.

SM (00:57:18):
Do you think we would have been out of the war sooner if he became present?

RC (00:57:26):
Maybe, but I do not think anybody who got in could get out that easily or quickly [inaudible] because there is some major problems in and of itself. [inaudible] give you the war [inaudible].

SM (00:57:41):
How about Bobby Kennedy?

RC (00:57:42):
That idiot got us into it in the first place, [inaudible] over to Vietnam. They're just sending the [inaudible] advisors [inaudible].

SM (00:58:01):
How about Eugene McCarthy?

RC (00:58:03):
Eugene was all right. I guess [inaudible]. Some of the things he says were true about Vietnam [inaudible]. Was it really worth the life of one American? The Vietnamese did not care. Most of the Vietnamese were locked in a time warp, they lived in the 16th century. They might have had a radio in the village hall. They were just agricultural people growing rice and selling it and carrying on the-the generation. And not much had changed since [inaudible] 1500s. You have electricity in most of the places [inaudible]. They're houses did not have floors, they were dirt floors [inaudible].

SM (00:58:47):
George McGovern.

RC (00:58:47):
[inaudible] I guess he spoke out the most on [inaudible]. He was shown to be correct in some of the things he said. I remember Eugene McCarthy [inaudible].

SM (00:59:13):
Yes. Governor in (19)72, the democratic nominee.

RC (00:59:19):
[inaudible]. Was McCarthy a third party?

SM (00:59:21):
No, he was a Democrat and [inaudible] Bobby, there is a bitterness between the two of them, because Bobby said he went [inaudible].

RC (00:59:30):

SM (00:59:33):
(19)68 was quite a year.

RC (00:59:38):
[inaudible] was Humphrey [inaudible].

SM (00:59:38):
Humphrey Muskie.

RC (00:59:43):
Is Muskie still alive?

SM (00:59:43):
He died.

RC (00:59:43):

SM (00:59:45):
Died a year ago. He had severe Parkinson's disease and he had a bad heart.

RC (00:59:55):
Now he was old enough to be in history books, during the (19)60s.

SM (00:59:56):
I will recommend a book for you to read, it just came out by Joles Woodcover, he is from the Baltimore sun. It is a call 1968 a year in memory. I am just finishing, it is 500 pages, you will not be able to put it down. It basically goes over that entire year. So, as you are reading it you reflect about where you were in (19)68. Spiro Agnew.

RC (01:00:32):
I guess he was kind of a nice family guy, a young local celeb [inaudible] have much impact on.

SM (01:00:32):
But he created a lot of the lack of civility and dialogue with his assignment to go out on college campuses and really blast people. If you read (19)68 the book by [inaudible] even Richard Nixon was a little concerned about how far to the extreme he went sometimes. And he did not put a lid on it, but he embarrassed the president many times.

RC (01:00:55):
I guess [inaudible] civil dialogue and name calling. Because that was his specialty was to look up in the dictionary [inaudible]. But that was one of his [inaudible].

SM (01:01:06):
Neil [inaudible] wrote a speech for him.

RC (01:01:13):
That is another nut.

SM (01:01:16):
Phil [inaudible].

RC (01:01:16):
Phil [inaudible] somethings of some [inaudible] except when he called somebody one time.

SM (01:01:24):
Barry Goldwater.

RC (01:01:27):
I always liked Barry Goldwater, he was [inaudible]. I think he introduced me [inaudible] to the extent that world war two [inaudible] combat [inaudible] until he defends civil liberty [inaudible]. That man was something else. He had good ideas. And he was sort of carrying on the old style [inaudible].

SM (01:01:55):
There has been several books written on him in the last couple of years. They were waiting for his book. Everybody else was writing about him but when is his book coming out. Muhammad Ali.
RC (01:02:09):
He was another draft dodger. I remember him saying he is not going, I think his [inaudible] suspended him.

SM (01:02:18):
Yeah, four years at least.

RC (01:02:18):

SM (01:02:18):
I read his book and he was a [inaudible] objector and he was based on his faith.

RC (01:02:23):
[inaudible] Muslims to me [inaudible] peaceful.

SM (01:02:28):
I saw him speak at the Ohio theater after I got out of grad school, when he was suspended. And he took the $3,500 in cash that was given to them and he handed it back and said, use it for a children's center. He did not take any money. He did not need it. So, it was amazing when I saw that.

RC (01:02:49):
Historically speaking that religion was a pretty [inaudible] religion.

SM (01:02:56):
Thoughts on the women leaders of that time, Gloria Steinem Betty Friedan, Abella [inaudible] the first Congresswoman [inaudible 01:03:05] power. And then Shirley Chisholm came in that. some of the women political leaders who turned things around for the women's movement.
RC (01:03:12):
I thought they were all generally great. A lot of the things they did, 40 percent [inaudible 01:03:19] somewhere along the line it would have been 2 percent. [inaudible] a lot of legitimate things to say [inaudible].

SM (01:03:30):
Some of the people from Watergate are John Dean and John Mitchell. Some of the people that were the operatives in the White House during that time, who were the staff of Richard Nixon, those people.

RC (01:03:43):
I guess John Mitchell was the old style, the president was always right [inaudible] whatever we do. John Dean was sort of like I guess he was [inaudible]. How old was he when he ratted out the president?

SM (01:04:00):
33 I believe. That is very young.

RC (01:04:01):

SM (01:04:05):
And I guess he [inaudible].

RC (01:04:08):
At least [inaudible] Mr. President [inaudible].

SM (01:04:11):
How about Daniel Ellsberg?

RC (01:04:19):
I never was quite sure what is that thing was all about. I know he had some papers [inaudible] showed that Vietnam was one of those [inaudible].

SM (01:04:26):

RC (01:04:30):
Yeah, hopefully [inaudible].

SM (01:04:33):
What about Ralph Nader who is still living with the activism of today in a different area.

RC (01:04:39):
He is okay. He is sometimes pushing the envelope. So, for somebody sticking up small causes, causes that that nobody else is sticking up for.

SM (01:04:51):
I want to say this, someone on authority told me this, that you cannot find anything negative against the guy because he lives in a small apartment in Washington. He washes his own clothes. Never got married. I do not think he even owns a car. It is amazing that you cannot get anything in the guy because I think several political leaders try to, including Richard Nixon. They could not find anything. There was nothing negative. He practiced what he preached. He makes good money, but he just lives a very simple life. His causes are his life.

RC (01:05:21):
Ever heard about [inaudible] he would not be as vehement if he worked in [inaudible].

SM (01:05:29):
Oh no, common cause was John Gardner. He started that, [inaudible] out of state. I am pretty sure.... Dwight Eisenhower.

RC (01:05:40):
He was a good man. He was a war hero [inaudible] but I guess to some extent it is true.

SM (01:05:48):
And the music of the year, the music that symbolize the (19)60s, when you had Janice Chaplain, Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles, all that music. Because that played a very important part in the war protest. Just that whole era of the music of the (19)60s and the early (19)70s, which are really [inaudible].

RC (01:06:08):
I like the music of the (19)60s [inaudible].

SM (01:06:11):
[inaudible] Jim Morrison.

RC (01:06:14):
That there was excess of those people. And they were part of it, pushing [inaudible] electronic.

SM (01:06:36):
Mayor Daley from Chicago.

RC (01:06:39):
He made that city work. He was the old guard [inaudible] Nixon. [inaudible] like his father.

SM (01:06:59):
And once now in the Clinton administration too. That ends the basic questions. My final question is, are there any thoughts that, passing words of wisdom you might say with respect to this business about the healing again? Because again, this project is geared toward each individual's own historical perspective and also the metaphor part of their life. If you were to put in a capsule what that era has meant to you, just your own personal feelings of your young years. What it was like to be a teenager in the (19)60s, to grow up in the (19)50s, in the (19)60s and then the (19)70s to serve your country and come back. If you were share some final thoughts on your growing up years.

RC (01:07:47):
I do not know, I guess I started off in the (19)50s when it was more laid back. In school it was high school. I was on the team. I was captain of the basketball team. [inaudible] cheerleader and all that stuff [inaudible] it is going to make me step up to the plate. And things never changed, [inaudible] a career, whatever. What made me kind of step up to the plate [inaudible] things were changing. I was probably a little radicalized [inaudible] in the (19)60s. [inaudible] free speech. The importance of having students on the prestige of the university. [inaudible] I was considered a radical.

SM (01:08:42):
Were you a Democrat then?

RC (01:08:44):
Probably republican at that time. Being with the military, I can tell you when I was in college I was supporting Johnson, [inaudible] Johnson. At that time [inaudible] If you were working for [inaudible] because with Johnson [inaudible].

SM (01:09:02):
Think a lot of Vietnam veterans, because of that experience became Republicans as opposed to Democrats, because they looked at McNamara and Johnson. And of course, history will show Kennedy, you got to see him and realize he may have gotten this out but do you think a lot of veterans, did you experienced a lot of people that changed?

RC (01:09:20):
And they made them republicans and we did not call them that in the military service. [inaudible] from us all the military.

SM (01:09:31):
Final question is getting back to the wall in Washington. And then 1992, this is the 15th anniversary coming up. We are expecting a big turnout in Washington. It is amazing a time place. But again, your thoughts on the impact that the wall has had on America.

RC (01:09:51):
I think it is important [inaudible] see the names on it. It feels like having that statute they put up to [inaudible].

SM (01:09:59):

RC (01:09:59):

SM (01:10:02):
Over there.

RC (01:10:06):
Yeah, they [inaudible]. I think it is like they were in combat and they came in on the last patrol and they had 58,000 [inaudible]. Yeah, I think the wall is a [inaudible] of America. However, there was never a film of the war, you never see it. [inaudible]. I think it has made people appreciate the service individual. They [inaudible] anything else to do. But at least they see that those individuals are not [inaudible].

SM (01:10:46):
Do you think that, follow up for that, this last question [inaudible] coming from me, that the greatest amount of healing from the Vietnam veteran, and because now we see the first ambassador back in Vietnam who was a former POW Mr. Peterson. And there seems to be a lot of forgiving between the people who fought the war. Almost a kind of respect because of a warrior, you had your duty and we had our duty. So, there is more healing between Vietnam veterans and Vietnam and America than there is between Vietnam veterans and those who protested against the war, some divisions here. Do you think that is a good analogy and can we ever, as Jan has been trying to do with the wall, bring people together to have the ultimate healing, which is finally saying, I am sorry, I was young then, I want to be able to be a friend of a Vietnam veteran. I want you to understand where I was coming from, because I think there is a lot of guilt amongst many people when they go to that wall, where boomers who take their kids, and I did not serve. That even though they may not have tried to get out of the war, there is got to be... Everybody that I have ever talked to that goes to the wall, whether they served or did not serve, has this feeling. There's feelings, it touches people. It brings back the memories. I am just trying to find out about your thoughts on the final healing process.

RC (01:12:06):
Yeah, it is [inaudible] significantly. It was one of the major events that began the healing process. With other towns like us, we did five years after, we built our memorial, sort of right down to a local level. It was all started by that one unknown soldier leaving Vietnam and it sort of spread out [inaudible]. You see Vietnam mentioned all over the world.

SM (01:12:34):
Is Clinton's visit to the wall important for the healing?

RC (01:12:36):

SM (01:12:40):
Because President Bush did not even go to the wall, but at least Bill Clinton did. I do not think Ronald-

RC (01:12:44):
[inaudible] Bush [inaudible].

SM (01:12:45):
He was asked, he just did not want to go. And I know that for a fact. He was asked, and he said no.

RC (01:12:51):
Similar to the [inaudible] too much.

SM (01:12:52):
Bill Clinton was asked and he was going to refuse but still went. So, I do not know if that was like the second visit to the wall, how important that was toward the healing and then the generation.

RC (01:13:09):
[inaudible] sort of hide what they did. Not hide it but [inaudible].

SM (01:13:14):
Any final thoughts?

RC (01:13:15):
You have to live with your past [inaudible].

SM (01:13:18):
Any final thoughts at all, anything you want to add?

RC (01:13:21):
No. I guess [inaudible].

SM (01:13:29):
I hope that is not the case. Thank you very much.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview



Stephen McKiernan


Ronald D. Castille

Biographical Text

Ronald D. Castille served on the US Supreme Court in Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2014 and was promoted to the Chief Justice in 2008, staying until 2014. Castille retired from office at the age of 70. He received his Bachelor's degree in Economics from Auburn University. He joined the U.S Marine Corps and received several awards along his journey. Castille received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law after his medical retirement from the Marine Corps.





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Binghamton University Libraries

Digital Format


Material Type


Interview Format


Subject LCSH

Marines; Pennsylvania. Supreme Court; Judges; Castille, Ronald D.--Interviews

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Anti-war protest; Civil rights movement; William Buckley; Bill Buckley; Hippies; Sexual Revolution; Drugs; the Vietnam War; Counterculture; Activism; Equality; Jim Crow; Segregation; Black Panthers; Feminism; Gay Rights; Native American Movement; Baby boom generation


mckiernanphotos - Castille - Ron.jpg

Item Information

About this Collection

Collection Description

Stephen McKiernan's collection of interviews includes more than two hundred interviews with prominent figures of the 1960s, which were collected between the mid-1990s and 2010s. The collection provides narratives of people who were actively involved in or witnessed events in the 1960s, an era which spurred profound cultural and… More

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“Interview with Ron Castille,” Digital Collections, accessed July 25, 2024,