Although we did examine materials from the entire 1968-1975 period, there were none that we could find from 1972 or 1973. Even as students participated in anti war actions on campus, they appear not to have been writing about these experiences simultaneously. This has led us to believe that, like the paid contemporary authors of the time, Davidson students primarily wrote about the Vietnam War after it had ended. However, with the chaos of Watergate looming in the background, some students wrote provocative, pro-peace poetry in 1974. We have only one source of interest, from the 1974 Miscellany.

Published in a 1974 issue of the Miscellany, Ernest Kroll’s poem Summer Soldiers (in war time) describes a group of soldiers passing by. [1] The first few lines state, “There was no dulce et decorum hero / In the crew of them” (lines 1-2). This latin phrase is a direct reference to Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem [“Dulce et Decorum Est.” People volunteered to fight in World War I and at the time, it was seen as the war to end all wars. On the other hand, the Vietnam War was a drafted war that many people did not want to take part in. Many soldiers in the Vietnam War were teenagers and it is understandable that some were afraid to die. In the second half of the poem, the author focuses on two soldiers from the group, Fittipoldi and Loureiro. Kroll compares the two soldiers to falling leaves and fears that they will “Be slowly turning mouldy” (line 8). “Turning mouldy” –Assuming “mouldy” means “moldy,” the line can be interpreted as implying the possibility of death ahead for this duo, whose bodies may decay along with the autumn leaves. Kroll’s poem highlights the difference between a war in which people were willing to fight and one in which people were not.

1. Kroll, Ernest. “Summer Soldiers (in war time).” Davidson College. The Miscellany.