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Sun Sep 19, 2021, 08:17 AM

A conversation with Ken Burns on making 'Muhammad Ali'

This section really hit home for me, as I was drafted in the Marines in 1969 but joined the Army and indeed went to Korea instead:

(Interviewer) Pride: I was in the Army for four years beginning in 1966, but I never doubted that Ali did the right thing in refusing the draft. Part of me even wished I had done the same. But I sought a different way out, enlisting after I was drafted in exchange for an assignment that I thought — correctly, as it turned out — would keep me out of Vietnam.

Burns: Tim O’Brien (Vietnam combat veteran and author), in our Vietnam film, said that it was the cowardly thing to do to say yes. In the Ali film, Salim Muwakkil (Chicago journalist) says, “I was in the service at the time, and you think I’d be angry at Ali, but I wasn’t.” We cut from him to three Americans in Vietnam saying, “This is what I’m fighting for. He gets to do this.” They have gotten there, and they realize he knows exactly what’s right: Why are we being sent halfway around the world to kill people who never did anything bad to us? That happens when we’re at home. They kill us just because of the color of our skin.

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2021/09/18/a-conversation-with-ken-burns-on-making-muhammad-ali-column/

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