Bob Begin on Vietnam Veterans and Activism

This story clip can be aligned to the following Ohio Department of Education Social Studies Standards:

American History #4 Historians analyze cause, effect, sequence and correlation in historical events, including multiple causation and long- and short-term causal relations.

American History #9 The Bill of Rights is derived from English law, ideas of the Enlightenment, the experiences of the American colonists, early experiences of self-government and the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

American History #26 The Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics.

American Government #8 The Bill of Rights was drafted in response to the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.


When protesters mention their reasoning for why they started protesting, many times they mention one pinnacle moment in their lives where they became politically awakened. In this clip, Fr. Bob Begin pauses between his explanation of invading Dow Chemical as part of the DC9 and his joint action with other concerned Christians who took over a midnight Mass in Cleveland’s Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to share a story about one of his prior religion students. Throughout his entire interview, which can be found here, those two actions represent his most ambitious endeavors to protest the Vietnam War, and both end with his arrest. Therefore, one can view Frank’s story as one of Fr. Begin’s “pinnacle moments” in his activism.

Potential Classroom Use:
Click on this link for all of the materials needed for a lesson on catalysts for activism. The lesson plan covers political activism throughout American History, First Amendment rights, and contains choice board assignment as the final assessment.

[Photograph 111-C-CC34613; Operation Wahiawa; 05/16/1966; Color Photographs of Signal Corps Activity, 1944 – 1981; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Record Group 111; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.]

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