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America the Beautiful… Is Everybody’s Job It’s the job of every family that spreads a picnic on a roadside table. It’s the job of every boatman who cruises the lakes and waterways. Every driver, every walker, every flier. That’s why our Association throws its wholehearted support each year into the Keep America Beautiful campaign. Lovely country we have here. Let’s keep it that way. UNITED STATES BREWERS ASSOCIATION, INC. 905 International Life Bldg., Austin, Texas 78701 Easter Day on Ranch Road One Ranch Road One On a peaceful Easter Sunday afternoon some 150 Texans, perhaps somewhat more, gathered beside Ranch Road One in pastoral Gillespie County to stand silent vigil for three hours near President Johnson’s LBJ Ranch home. The group, protesting the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam war, was separated from the house and the ranch, by a wire mesh fence and the placid Pedernales River, which meanders through the rugged, picturesque Hill Country of the Texas interior. The President was not at home on this holiday weekend. Shortly after the vigil was begun, the tranquility of the warm, bright afternoon was broken. “Here come the Nazis,” a woman said. Three cars drove up smartly, an old model Oldsmobile in the lead. The convoy halted abruptly at the site. Each vehicle, in turn, backed furiously up the 12 The Texas Observer gentle slope which faced both the vigil participants and the ranch behind them. A mass of khaki poured out of the cars. Representatives of America’s National Socialist Party had arrived from Dallas, the city which has replaced Arlington, Va., as the movement’s national headquarters. Preparations were begun; the Nazis had planned an elaborate show for those in the vigil. A loudspeaker system was set up, banners and American flags unpacked. Finally the tableau was completed. Behind a microphone, manned by a speaker, were three of the Nazis, standing more or less at attention. They were flanked, in front, by two men, each holding American flags. Four others supported two identical banners which bore huge swastikas and the message “DEATH TO RED SCUM.” Two other men who had accompanied the Nazis stood on the fringes of the gathering and appeared to be excess baggage, camp followers of a sort, perhaps. The ages and appearance of those in the en tire group were various. There was an older man, overweight, with white hair, and a portly young man with black hair. The speaker was red-faced and grew more so as his speech progressed. The eleventh member of the party was not uniformed, and appeared to be hardly seventeen. Wearing tan levis and an open-collared dress shirt with shirttails hanging out, he made one brief excursion among those in the vigil, passing out a crudely dtawn cartoon depicting anti-war demonstrators knifing an American soldier in the back. A vigil participant asked the boy what he was passing out. He replied, “I don’t know.” Suddenly another loudspeaker blasted forth, broadcasting martial music. The speaker was mounted on a fourth car which, until then, had gone almost unnoticed. Green posterboard signs identified the auto as that of the Grand Dragon of Texas. The Ku Klux Klan was also present. On the top of a hill, a young man in Bermuda shorts was sitting on a water pump, apparently sunbathing and taking in the scene below: the persons in the vigil staring at the Nazis and Klan across the no man’s land of Ranch Road One. NOT LONG AFTER the Nazi speaker began haranguing the participants in the vigil, the Klan deferentially switched off its music, keeping it off until the speech ended a couple of hours later. The gist of the address was that Ameri cans are being killed in Vietnam and peace demonstrators are responsible. Such demonstrators, the speaker said, should be killed. Threats of violence against the persons in the vigil constituted much of the speech. Early in the talk, an Austin couple who had come to be in the vigil departed from the group, saying to me, with some earnestness, “Don’t get yourself killed, Rob.” At one point those in the vigil were delighted by the antics of a commercial bus driver passing on the road between the Nazis and themselves. Tooting his horn intermittently to attract the attention of the Nazis, the driver, as he passed by, released the steering wheel completely to give Nazis a double thumbs-down sign, bouncing up and down in his seat for emphasis. His passengers seemed pleased. The Nazi speaker’s delivery was staccato, more like a series of military orders than a persuasive speech. He frequently referred to the demonstrators, with little accuracy, as being “shaggy-haired and dirty-bearded.” At one point, the people in the vigil were told that most of them were Jews involved with the powerful financial interests which control the country. That brought forth a few chuckles. A number of families were on hand, as were older couples and an assortment of children, who spent the afternoon running around, playing on the flowered hill