Everybody makes choices. Some of them matter for an hour, others for the rest of your life. For thousands of young people forty years ago, the choice was to go to war in Vietnam or accept the consequences of refusing.
Most young men during the Vietnam era faced a choice, whether or not to be drafted into the US Armed Forces. For Jim Fleming, and his friends Robert Cardinaux and Mark Peterson, the chose to become Conscientious Objectors. They worked together in alternative service as psychiatric aides.
Bill Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, which set off a series of bombs around the country in protest against the Vietnam War. Ayers insists he was not a terrorist, since his objective was never to kill people. He believes his own actions showed restraint in comparison with the enormity of the harm he believed the Vietnam War was causing.
Back in 1969, Marine Karl Marlantes was dropped in the middle of a jungle in Vietnam - at the age of 23, put in charge of the lives of 40 other young men. He says he wasn't psychologically or spiritually prepared for that, or for what came after the war.
Tom Perrotta talks about what makes a great short story and his work as editor of "The Best American Short Stories 2012." He also reads excerpts from Julie Otsuka's "Diem Perdidi" and his own short story, "Nine Inches."