Monday, November 02, 2015

50th Anniversary

PHOTO:  Anne and Norman Morrison with their three children in the 1960s (Public Domain)

The Death of Norman Morrison

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Norman Morrison, who set himself on fire outside McNamara's window at the Pentagon, protesting the Vietnam War, and especially the killing of children. He had his young daughter Emily with him. She was not harmed. Norman died from setting himself on fire.

Here is some Wikipedia information on him:

Norman Morrison (December 29, 1933 – November 2, 1965) was a Baltimore Quaker best known for his act of self-immolation at age 31 to protest United States involvement in the Vietnam War. The Erie, Pennsylvania-born Morrison graduated from the College of Wooster in 1956. He was married and had two daughters and a son. On November 2, 1965, Morrison doused himself in kerosene and set himself on fire below Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's Pentagon office. This may have been in emulation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức, who burned himself to death in downtown Saigon of then South Vietnam to protest the repression committed by the South Vietnam government.

Morrison took his daughter Emily, then one year of age, to the Pentagon, and either set her down or handed her off to someone in the crowd before setting himself ablaze. Morrison's reasons for taking Emily are not entirely known. However, Morrison's wife later recalled, "Whether he thought of it that way or not, I think having Emily with him was a final and great comfort to Norman... [S]he was a powerful symbol of the children we were killing with our bombs and napalm--who didn't have parents to hold them in their arms.”

And here is an article from The Guardian:

One day in November, Norman Morrison left home with his baby daughter Emily, drove 40 miles to Washington DC, and just yards from the Pentagon, poured kerosene over himself before striking a match. The flames shot more than 10 feet into the air. Coming home after collecting their two older children from school, his wife, Anne, had no idea what Norman, 31, had done. But as night fell, she wondered where he had taken Emily. Then the phone rang. It was a journalist. Realising she had no idea what had happened, he suggested she phone the hospital. She did, and was told that Norman had been badly burned. "Intuitively, I knew he hadn't survived," Anne remembers. Her baby had not been harmed, the hospital staff assured her.
She asked friends to look after Ben, six, and Christina, five, and others to drive her to Washington. At the hospital, Anne collected Emily, who seemed fine, and Norman's possessions: wallet, comb, wedding ring and a Harris tweed jacket he had bought in Scotland after they married. For the media outside, she wrote a statement: “Norman had given his life to express his concern about the loss of life and suffering caused by America's military intervention in Vietnam.”

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