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Sterling Hall Bombing 50 years ago, from David Joseph Marcou, BA-’73-History

Sep. 25, 2020
Category: Memories

August 2020 saw the 50th anniversary of UW’s Sterling Hall Bombing, which I was on-campus for in 1970, working just-before semester for the football team. I don’t recall being awakened in the middle of the night by the blast itself, but my parents & I did speak via phone soon after, & my dad & one of my brothers drove to Madison to take me back to La Crosse for while. I’d not been a protester except on one day, though some of my dorm-mates & I used to view the protests from across the street. We were close-enough once, that I was tear-gassed. During one of the protest marches up Bascom Hill, I did march, but when I saw the destruction of buildings accompanying that march, I no longer took part in or viewed the protests. Soon after that march the bombing occurred, ending the anti-Vietnam War movement on UW’s campus.

Several years ago I wrote a play about the bombing, “Bloody Math: An American Tragedy in Three Acts”. I called it Bloody Math, b/c the target of the bombers was the Army Math Research Center on 6th floor of Sterling Hall, the Physics Bldg. Unfortunately for young Physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, the bomb did most of its damage to lower floors of the building, not 6th. The basement, where he was working, had some big damage; he was the lone fatality. My play is in Vol. 66 of my Spirit of America book-series, readable on my web-page at the Missouri J-School Library website. I am WI’s most prolific author, & 2 writings by me have been nominated for Pulitzers, including my play “Remembering Davy Crockett”.

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