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Submissions/The 60's: America's Social Tsunami

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no. 814.
Title of the submission
The 60's: America's Social Tsunami
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Bruce Neckels
E-mail address
Bruce neckels
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

With the ever-increasing popularity of college courses being offered about the era of the 1960’s, the Hippie Movement, and the Vietnam War, I have become a very valuable learning experience for students taking these courses, and would like to expand my role as a guest speaker. Included in my speaking engagements is my book, “Matter of Conscience,” a biography relating my experience during the 1960’s “American Social Tsunami” and the stand I took against the Vietnam War. I don’t consider myself to be a torch-bearer or beacon of light, but merely a window to peek through for those interested in this era. I have a plethora of topics pertaining to the 1960’s decade: the music, the hippie movement, summer of love; the war, the politics, the assassinations and riots – and of course my own experience of becoming a draft resistor, then refusing induction into the military. The audience follows my journey from college to courtroom - the San Francisco County Jail - Safford Federal Prison and my subsequent support from and friendship with author Danielle Steel; becoming a volunteer for NASA during my incarceration; then upon my release, touring with a theatre group of ex-convicts, performing a prison drama, and lecturing at campuses all across the United States and Canada. And finally, the payoff: a full presidential pardon from Gerald R. Ford. . “Matter of Conscience”I captures major events happening simultaneously in the US and Vietnam; and the obvious déjà vu of Vietnam and Iraq. I.e. being duped and paying with lives and suffering beyond mere statistics. McNamara or Rumsfeld/Cheney? Nixon or Bush? The names change; the politicians change; but it’s the same game. What can we learn by reexamining a previous war similar in the arrogance with which we committed ourselves, the cynicism of our appraisals, and the cost to our young?

I share with my young audiences, how the causes for which we stood - social, economic, and political – have left indelible marks on today’s society. And by the letters I’ve received from college students who’ve attended my appearances, I’ve also left a mark on them. I recently appeared at Marymount Manhattan College – a course titled De-constructing the 60’s.” Here are a few of their comments:

Mr. Neckels, you have inspired a group of college students to not only run with their dreams, but learn about them. To dive deep into ourselves to know that we are secure and confident with choosing the path less taken. So thank you for everything you have taught us today. I’m sure this can only be the beginning of you teaching other young people what it means to be “neither coward nor hero.” Sincerely yours, Cory Williams Before you came and our professor announced that we were going to have a conscientious objector talk in our class and I dreaded it. My own moral beliefs made me feel that you let down the United States and I didn't want to come to class. But since I am a better student than that I came and was enlightened by everything you had to say about your experiences, I now understand your choices and accept them.

Sincerely Ethan Naylor

Dear Mr. Neckels,

Thank you so much for coming to the College and speaking with Clare's class…and for taking the time to write so eloquently about your experience. What a bonus if it leads to more and paid opportunities to share your experience with college students and return engagements at Marymount.

Best wishes, Jud

Judson R. Shaver, Ph.D. President Marymount Manhattan College

I can not stop raving about your visit! I have told all my friends and family what an amazing experience it was to have you come and speak and open up to us about what you experienced in the 1960's……Thank you again for coming to our class! It has definitely been my favorite class and probably will be for the rest of my career as a student! Thank you!!



Mr. Neckels, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I have served my country and done three ground combat tours in Iraq so I have a deep since of patriotism to my country. What I found out is so do you. I have often thought about growing up during the Vietnam Conflict. I don't know what I would have done if I had been in your situation. I'd like to think that if my constitution was strong enough I would have had the guts to stand my ground in the same way you did….I could have listened to you tell us about your experiences for the rest of the day.


Award winning writer Bruce Neckels has 40 years of professional experience. His acting credits in numerous film, television and stage productions bring another level of creativity to his writing. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Francisco State College, in Radio-Television Broadcasting, with a minor in Drama. His first break as a writer came in 1989, when he was hired by NBC. Since then, he has scripted close to 700 one-hour episodes for television, earning three EMMY® nominations and winning the Writers Guild of America Award. Matter of Conscience is his first book.


Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
I'll have to see what my bank account looks like.
Slides or further information (optional)
Considering a 5-minute DVD introduction.
Special request as to time of presentations

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