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Interchange – Henry Swain


Host Tom Healy talks with Brown County resident Henry Swain, who was born on Armistice Day in 1918. A lifelong pacifist, Swain was a conscientious objector in World War II and has written about his experiences in his new book, “Why Now? The Evolution of a Conscientious Objector”. He talks about the origins of his pacifism in his Quaker upbringing and the courage required to stand up for one’s convictions. Swain speaks to the need for accepting the consequences of one’s actions. In his case, it involved serving three years in labor camps here in his own country. He maintains a noble attitude of tolerance to those who say they must serve in the military but he is unyielding in expecting reciprocity and respect for his standpoint. Swain reminds us that it is the role of the minority to remind the majority that they can never rest unchallenged. He also reads “Hidden Presence”, a poem he wrote on the effects and after-effects of war, specifically landmines.

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