I used to write to my Senators about matters of policy. But mostly I wrote to my favorite authors, entertainers and TV shows. I also used to make phone calls before people worried about stalkers. That's how I got to be friends with Andy Warhol when I was in 11th grade, in 1966. But that's another story.
I have managed to hang on to several of the responses I got to my letters. Back in those pre internet days, it was rare to have copy machine so we relied on carbon paper. If I made carbons of the letters I don't have them.
Like many people of my generation, I was opposed to the War in Vietnam. I was, and am, opposed to war in general, but that was the conflict of the era and I wanted some answers. I was three weeks shy of sixteen years old and nearing the end of tenth grade when I wrote a letter to my Senator, Robert F. Kennedy. Here is his hand typed and, I believe, hand signed reply:
Dear Miss Cowan,
Thank you for letting me know your views on Vietnam. I share your deep concern about our involvement there, and I have enclosed a statement which summarizes my views about it.
The situation becomes more serious with each passing day, and I can assure you that I have been in close and constant contact with other Senators and with members of the Executive Branch regarding an effort to develop a strategy for peace in that troubled part of the word -- how we can end the fighting as soon as possible in a way which brings world stability and a lasting and honorable peace. This is a delicate and difficult task.
I hope I have not delayed unduly in replying to your thoughtful views. I valued having them and I hpe to hear from you again as the months pass.sincerely
Robert F. Kennedy
Kennedy died in March 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles
The War in Vietnam lasted until 1975.
Your comments are always welcome.