The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 13, 2008

Woman recalls wounded veterans, rioting in D.C. during her 1968

We lived in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area in 1968. The city had horrible rioting and looting and blocks and blocks of D.C. engulfed in flames form the rioting in Washington, D.C., and some areas of Maryland in Prince George’s County.

Stealing everything they could from the stores of any value. A very hot summer that year in our capital and in 1968. We were there when they brought Bobby Kennedy back to lie in state in our Rotunda in the Capitol that year, after his assassination.

Very high crime all over the District of Columbia area especially and fires everywhere. Just unreal. The blacks did the rioting and set fires with gas and kerosene.

President Nixon addressed our capital one night on our TV telling us to stay inside our homes and don’t go outside.

They kept my husband for three night on his shifts and fed them and brought cots in for sleeping. My first husband worked at K-Lath Corporation in Greenbelt, Md.

The medical staffs at the hospitals brought in cots, food and cared for all medical around the clock for three nights. No one went home — too dangerous to drive home on our streets.

Then at the Dept. of Corrections in D.C. (prison) where Mr. Lasky worked, this whole prison and staff slept on cots and were fed, and they had two fires at the prison and horrible rioting and violence this year. As the staff worked around the clock, Dr. Martin Luther King led a peaceful march on the tidal basin area, marching for civil rights before his horrible assassination later that year. A real man of peace and a godly man.

Vietnam was in full swing in 1968, as well. Our military men were brought home and landing at Andrews Air Force Base, in Camp Springs, Md, then transported to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for treatment, as well as our many heroes brought home to their families from the war to be buried.

The American Red Cross helped bring in the food and cots, and the National Guard was called in to help during this crisis. I recall everything was canceled: Churches and all meetings were canceled for two weekends until our area was better controlled. Policemen were working also around the clock with the National Guard.

A very bad year for our nation for those of us in the Washington, D.C. area. It was truly a memorable year for us. We’ll never forget it.

Diane and Ray Lasky