“Earth Days” interviewees represent a diverse cross-section of American life and politics. Among them are former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, renewable energy pioneer Hunter Lovins, biologist Paul Ehrlich, former Republican congressman Pete McCloskey, Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes and Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schweickart. They each reflect on their personal awakening to an environmental crisis and the unprecedented movement that grew out of their response to that crisis.
On March 16, 1968, a company of American soldiers entered the village of My Lai, located in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam. Frustrated by their inability to directly engage the enemy and emotionally devastated by the ongoing casualties their unit had sustained, the men had been told that this was their chance to finally meet the Viet Cong head on. By the end of the day, they had shot and killed 507 unarmed and unresisting men, women and children, none of them apparently members of the enemy forces. Most of the survivors hid under the dead bodies of their families and neighbors. The incident, subsequently known as the My Lai Massacre, would only come to light more than a year later, when shocking photos of the atrocities were splashed across the pages of national newsmagazines and the evening newscasts, further eroding public support for the war in Vietnam.
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