This episode is inter cut with an elderly woman from the New York state who tells the story of her son Denton Crocker Jr. Her daughter joins her in recounting how as a boy he loved to read and he learned to hate reds.
Denton ran away from home when he was 17 years old and would not return unless his parents signed his army papers as he was keen to join up. We can guess he never returned home.
We are now seeing the hardening of the conflict under Lyndon B Johnson, taking over the presidency from JFK. Deep down LBJ had misgivings, some of his advisers were cautious others wanted hardening of attitudes and the generals wanted escalation of the war. This included a sustained air war in North Korea, tit for tat retaliation and sending ground troops to the south.
However war was never formally declared as one American airman found out, he was not afforded the protections of the Geneva Convention.
Yet we also see stirring of the anti war movement back in the USA with atrocities committed by the US troops in North Vietnam, homes burned, civilians killed and the young soldiers interviewed at the time appearing unconcerned.
A sobering, troubling episode. It ends as the Crockers record a televised Christmas message for their son in Vietnam.
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