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Tom Ramsberger's Story

I was finishing my junior year at D.U. and very aware of what was happening in Vietnam and felt aligned with those in the Anti-War Movement, although I was not an activist.  I was seeking a degree in Political Science as well as a minor in secondary school education.  My hope was to secure a position teaching high school history after graduation and therefore was sure to keep my record clean, going to extreme lengths to hide my stash of marijuana! If I recall correctly after the shootings at Kent State there was a large demonstration in Denver, the largest I had ever been too.  The crowd was huge and I remember realizing that the protesters actually filled the streets of downtown stretching from one side to the other.  The chants echoed off the tall buildings and electrified my friends and me.  The protest ended at the state capital where there were speeches and more protest songs and chants.

My recollection was that it was after the demonstration that the village, later called Woodstock West, began to emerge. I was living on the corner of Illiff and Race across the street from Johnson McFarlane. There was a group of us sharing apartments in that complex and we spent lots of time together and as usual we decided to go out and get a pizza at a place called Canino’s. To get there we walked across campus and noticed the crowd mulling around. On our way back we talked to some folks and learned this was quickly turning into a protest and that there were people from other schools who had attended the protest downtown.

The whole business about a student strike was a bit confusing to me and being the cautious potential teacher that I was, I therefore went to class for the first day of the strike. The collection of shacks continued to grow and the whole event seem to take on the air of a carnival. Several days later I woke up to the sound of people marching and looked out the window to see the National Guard Troops surrounding the campus. I pulled on some jeans and a t-shirt and took off to the Village but by the time I arrived it was completely surrounded by the soldiers but a crowd had gathered across the street in what was then a gravel parking lot. There was a big bus nearby apparently for anyone who got arrested. Some in the crowd were angry and finally a guy standing nearby started throwing rocks at the Guard. In turn they began charging the crowd and everyone started running. I headed towards the pharmacy down on the corner because there was an alley on one side of it which I thought would get me out of the range of the soldiers. I will never forget that this guy who I didn’t know was running stride by stride next to me and suddenly he fell to the ground, suffering from what I assumed was an elliptic seizure. I felt terrible leaving him there but justified my decision knowing that the Guardsmen would soon find him! It was one hell of a scare!

Comments

Tom, This is the first i've
Wed, 07/06/2011 - 8:45pm - by Sheila Schroeder

Tom,

This is the first i've heard about rock throwing and the guard charging at the students. This sounds very scary indeed. We do have footage of a student having an epileptic or some other sort of seizure. Perhaps this is the man you are speaking about? I'll try and track down the footage and share it with you.

Thanks for sharing your story and for following us. Check back often for more stories!

Peace,

Sheila