DVD: Ron Jones Stories - The Wave
His video monologue recounting "The Wave" provides answers for all concerned students, teachers, Holocaust survivors (and relatives), religious groups and organizations on how something like the Holocaust could occur again...here...anywhere...now ...or in the future. The high school teacher who conducted the classroom experiment in 1967, Ron Jones, had never spoken publicly about his experience for 29 years, until this dramatic public presentation in 1996. He did not want to be seen as exploiting this controversial series of events for personal notariety. When he finally did this dramatic public performance it was after nearly three decades of reflection, perspective and reflection on the process he had set into motion.
In April 1967 at Cubberly High School, Palo Alto, CA, 28-year-old world history teacher Ron Jones is asked about the Holocaust by a student, and "Could it happen here?" Jones came up with an unusual answer. Ron decided to have a two week experiment in dictatorship. His idea was to explain fascism to his class through a game, nothing more. He never intended what resulted, where his class would be turned into a fascist environment. Where students willingly ghave up their fredom for the prospect of feeling superior to their neighbors...
The book, "The Wave" has been printed in nine languages and sold over 1,500,000 copies, and is being performed as a play in sixteen countries. Many have seen the 1981 television dramatization based on this true story. But few have seen it told from the teacher who created it. This is a must-see and an excellent supplement to the made-for-TV version, produced by Norman Lear for the ABC Television series , Afterschool Special (also available from us, see below)
Monday morning he straightened the classroom, dimmed the lights and played Wagnerian music. The word "Discipline" was written on the blackboard. He then had the students sit up straight in their chairs with hands placed flat across the small of their backs. In this setting, he devoted the remainder of the class to the topic of discipline. (this was in 1967 in the S.F. Bay Area, to put it into historical perspective)
By the second day, Jones developed a special greeting, a wave. It became known as the Third Wave, and if his students saw each other outside the classroom, they were to use it. The name "Third Wave" was derived from the common idea in the study of tides, that the third wave in a series that strikes the shore is the strongest. In his lectures, Jones went from "discipline" to "strength through community," and then to "strength through action."
By mid-week his "experiment" expanded to sixty students, and by the week's end, more than 200 were participating. Other teachers and the school's principal stood by and watched.
The first sign of concern came when some students had taken it upon themselves to report others who did not conform. After just four days, things got out of hand. Jones feared for the safety of a few students who refused to participate. To his dismay and alarm, the experiment was so blindly embraced by the students, that he cut the project short. "Initially I just wanted to show my students how powerful the pressure to belong can be, but the exercise got out of control. A momentum began to build that I couldn't slow, or even deter. I became frightened by the day-to-day happenings in class, and was forced to call it off," recalls Jones.
Jones became the subject of national controversy, sparking discussion on the appropriateness of exposing young adults to life's realities.
To some, he was an innovative hero and teacher; to others he was a Communist. Many people were shocked and embarrassed that the same mentality which led to the Holocaust could develop so quickly, in 1967, in a pristine all-American setting, and in an academic town, no less, home to elite Stanford University.
Jones wrote of his "experiment" in a short story, titled "Take As Directed" which was published in an alternative publication, "The Whole Earth Review".
Norman Lear, an American film maker, made a television adaptation which won Peabody and Emmy awards; however, in the process, he dramatically changed Jones' original true story. Later a novel was published based on the teleplay, becoming a best seller in Europe. To date, over 1.5 million copies have sold and the story is required reading in German schools. The irony of the teleplay, the novel and some of the plays produced since the original publication of Jones' story, is that they fail to tell what really happened in the classroom.
Ron Jones' authentic story-behind-the-story was essentially unknown until 1993 when he was
invited by the German government to address anti-fascist rallies. While on tour, he was escourted to the spiritual nerve-center of the Third Reich, Nuremberg – site of the famous rallies, and Hitler's private chambers, the Gold Room. In this space full of ghosts, Ron Jones told his story.
Witnesses learned of the "experiment" not from the various dramatizations, but for the first time heard the simple truth. It was a decisive moment for jones seeing the effect of the story on his audience and remembering an earlier encounter with Eva Mozes, a survivor of Dr. Joseph Mengele's horrific "twin" experiments in Auschwitz. Jones knew that he must share the truth with the world.
In his video, "The Wave," Jones' telling of his story is a vivid and riveting experience. Recounting his experiment in dictatorship, his meeting with Eva Mozes, and his presentation at Nuremberg. He warns of the destructive nature rooted in the pressure to belong or conform. Videotaped in San Francisco before a sold out Cowell Theatre whose audience included participants of the experiment (29 years earlier) as well as Holocaust survivors, the one hour narrative reveals the events that led to the "experiment" and what happened to the class during and after The Wave. The "experiment" illustrates how individual freedoms can be quickly abandoned and willfully repressed for collective goals and racism, as happened in the rise of Nazi Germany and the treatment of the Jews during that rise and throughout World War II.
The importance of The Wave's message cannot be underestimated, especially in lieu of the release of White House tapes revealing a past U.S. president, Richard Nixon, voicing hostility towards the Jewish people. "The uncovering of the tapes and the language," said Robert Strauss, Jewish activist, "coming out of the mouth of a president of the United States is more than I can really comprehend. It's sickening."
Jones' experiences and the release of the Nixon White House tapes are wake-up calls; reminders that, "We must never forget," a sentiment shared by Eva Mozes in her concern to protect future generations from the horror she experienced in Auschwitz.
All Americans can benefit from the issues raised in The Wave. Besides the entertainment value of Ron Jones' commanding performance, this sixty-minute video offers a valuable and creative tool for university and high school teachers to examine dictatorship, oppression and world history. Likewise, churches, temples and Jewish organizations nationwide have used this video to stimulate discussions on past religious persecutions, and reconcile and heal present day displays of racism.
An interesting 6 page article from The Whole Earth Review (Winter 1987) entitled,
"Memetics: The Science of Information Viruses" can be found on the internet at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_n57/ai_6203733/print
The article gives Ron Jones' classroom experiment as an example of how easily a dangerous "meme" (the concept that ideas can be viewed as a communicable, infectious disease, taking on a life of their own) can spread in an unsuspecting group such as a classroom of students.
• In March 2008, a film about Ron Jones' 1967 classroom experiment, transposed to present-day Germany, was released in theatres in Germany, entitled "Die Welle" (The Wave). It placed second as the highest-attended film which opened that week in Germany. In its first week, it grossed 3.8 million dollars. However this modern German re-make of "The Wave" was never released for U.S. theatrical distributor. It is still not available on DVD in this country.
The following article in The Manchester U.K.) Guardian newspaper is about the 2008 German re-make of "The Wave":
How could German citizens claim, after the war, to have known nothing about the Holocaust? Ron Jones's attempt to answer this question as a new teacher in 1960s California led to a risky experiment in fascism that has intrigued successive generations ever since. It is the subject of a major new German film, Die Welle (The Wave), released this week.
The Wave (Die Welle)
Production year: 2008
Country: Germany [English subtitles]
Runtime: 107 mins
Director: Dennis Gansel
Cast: Christiane Paul, Elyas M'Barek, Frederick Lau, Jennifer Ulrich, Jurgen Vogel, Max Riemelt
Teachers dream of making a difference to their students' lives. It's part of the joy of teaching. Former students of Jones describe his experiment, known as The Wave, as a milestone in their lives.
During project week at Cubberley high school in northern California in April 1967, Jones began teaching his 10th-grade class the power of discipline, drilling them to sit properly and breathe correctly. He made them address him as Mr. Jones, stand by their desks when answering questions, and chant slogans.
To his surprise, particularly against a backdrop of the "swinging sixties" and growing civil-rights activism, his 15-year-old students embraced the strict regime and became more motivated to learn.
"I was accustomed to two very intelligent girls, and the troublemakers at the back of the room. What The Wave generated was a major role for the great majority, who stayed quiet and just got through school. I realised that, as a teacher, I had probably ignored them for the most part.
"All of a sudden, this great mass of energy took place and they were all brilliant in their own way," Jones, now 68, explains in a gentle Californian drawl.
During about a week of daily lessons, he created a movement. It had a salute (a raised, cupped hand), a slogan - "strength through discipline, community and action" - and a secret police force. Students made banners, had membership cards, coerced others to join the movement, beat up those who wouldn't conform and voluntarily informed on each other.
Jones even had student bodyguards accompanying him as he walked through the school. One of the original class, Mark Hancock, 57, says students didn't know what to think. "Jones was the most popular teacher in school. He was only 10 years older than us, so we trusted and liked him a lot. We were 15, the age when you start to get an attitude and think independently. We were idealistic and passionate, but young and impressionable."
The class was used to Jones's unorthodox ways of bringing topics to life. He had taught them about apartheid by issuing cards with different rules for "black" and "white" students. He had invited guest speakers to talk about issues from all points of view - even calling Chairman Mao during one lesson.
"Kids would cut classes to go to his, he was that much fun," Hancock says. "He got you involved in the community, not just class."
Hancock explains how Jones got The Wave to feel so real. "He made an effort to make lessons sink in, and this time it did. Big time. The first part was just doing fun games together with our favourite teacher. We'd known Jones for six months and he was always smiling. Two or three days into it, he comes into the classroom not smiling, and he didn't again until it was all over. I'll never forget that day, because it really was scary."
Jones told the students the experiment was not a game but a movement, involving 1,000 other high schools around the U.S. A national leader would appear on television to announce a third political party in the country. That appealed to students, who felt betrayed by the handling of the Vietnam war and faced being drafted.
"At that point, it became scary and confusing," Hancock says. When it became 'real', it was easier for kids to get aggressive about it. We had to recruit new party members. And if you broke the rules, you would get in trouble with his secret police, who were unknown to us. He had snitches that would turn friends in voluntarily. There was this real fear and intimidation. It was like a police state.
"He broke up lines of communication between students. Some had been friends for 10 years, but you couldn't trust anybody. If you had any doubts or questions or thoughts of resistance, you couldn't tell anyone because you would get in trouble. You didn't dare ask whether it was real or not.
"It moved very fast. Each day, there were more surprises. And each time you thought you had understood it, there would be a new twist. I've been to Germany to talk to people a couple of times, and when the whole National Socialism movement rolled out, it was gradual. Some people got zealous, and some weren't concerned until it was too late."
After complaints from teachers and parents, and aware that the experiment was spiralling out of control, Jones ended it by calling a rally to which hundreds of students flocked. Only then did he reveal it was a hoax. He projected footage of Hitler and the Nazi rallies on the wall to emphasise how easily the students had been misled into behaving like fascists.
These days, Hancock says, he tends to question authority and he admits to being nervous around large groups of passionate people. He and a fellow classmate, Philip Neel, now a film producer, are to tell their stories in a forthcoming documentary. They have tracked down half the class so far.
"Mr Jones was very intense, energetic and charismatic. He filled the hour with convincing talk about how discipline and community were positive," says Neel.
He says the experience taught him it could happen to anyone. "The most dangerous thing is if someone says 'I could never do that,'" he says. One of the former students Neel interviewed for the documentary said: "It was like learning history in the first person. There definitely was a big difference between just reading about it and experiencing it - maybe understanding how it could happen, and how human dynamism plays into it."
Jones published his own account of The Wave (vaniercollege.qc.ca/Auxiliary/Psychology/Frank/Thirdwave.html) in 1976, which was made into a TV film in 1981. This then became the basis for a novel, called The Wave, by teen writer Todd Strasser, under the pseudonym Morton Rhue. It is required reading in many German schools.
Die Welle is set in modern-day Germany. Jones says it depicts the experiment well. "[Denis Gansel, the director] has captured the nature of kids at this time in life and history in a refreshing and accurate way - kids being technologically connected, and resisting the global economy by burning Nike."
The film portrays perfectly, Jones adds, the feelings of a younger teacher around older, more experienced teachers, their suspicions of his methods, and the relationship between the teacher and his wife. "We lived in a tree house in the mountains [the character in the film and his pregnant wife have a houseboat], so it felt true." The film's ending is more extreme, but plausible in today's society, according to both Jones and his students.
Two years after the experiment, Cubberley school refused Jones tenure - to huge student protests - because, he says, of his anti-war activities. He has spent the past 30 years working with people with mental disabilities, and finds it "strange" that he is constantly asked to explain The Wave.
"It was only one week, and we went on to the war in Vietnam, the treatment of black students, feminism, and drugs at the school. Life was pouring down on us.
"But students who have contacted me since all say it had an impact on their life. Many still have their membership cards, say The Wave was a turning point in their lives, and equate it with their success. I find that very strange. You don't know what you do as a teacher sometimes."
Jones says his own life has been the antithesis of the experiment, "including people not excluding them, finding kindness and tolerance". He writes books, plays and poetry, and has a jazz band.
"Life can't be planned. It has to be appreciated. It's strange to be yanked back to try to explain the experiment. But it causes discussion, which is wonderful and necessary. It seems more important today than ever. The U.S. is running amok, to some extent. Fascism [and coercive forms of totalitarianism -ed.] is real in homes, places of worship and government," he says.,br>
He is full of praise for the new film. "There was real bravery on the part of the Germans to do this. It wouldn't happen in the U.S. The film won't even show in the U.S. We're like ignorant children who don't want to see what's going on. We don't look at racism, or study it. The U.S. has no sense of guilt. We don't think about Dresden or Hiroshima or Iraq."
Would he do The Wave again? No, because it put people in danger. "I'm very glad I did it for discussional purposes, yes. It's a framework to learn and discuss fascism and what brings us happiness and joy. But it's like the atomic bomb. Is it valuable? Yes, but it's dangerous, too."
Jones says people email him constantly wanting to recreate the experiment. Last month, a British television company proposed it as a reality TV show.
"You can't take children and place them in danger. You unleash something in your own soul, which is even more devastating - the reality that you like it, and that order and control are pretty exciting. We all went through something together. I was not outside the experience."
The expression on the face of the teacher at the end of the German film is designed to make the audience, everyone, consider their own capacity for evil, says Jones. "It puts it into a universal context. We're all capable of this nightmare."
· "Die Welle" was released in the U.K. on Friday 19 September 2008.
The following is Ron Jones own account of the culmination of his 1967 classroom experiment, published in 1976, nine years after it took place:
...Once again I faced the thoughts of closing the experiment or letting it go its own course. Both options were unworkable. If I stopped the experiment a great number of students would be left hanging. They had committed themselves in front of their peers to radical behavior. Emotionally and psychologically they had exposed themselves. If I suddenly jolted them back to classroom reality I would face a confused student-body for the remainder of the year. It would be too painful and demeaning for Robert and the students like him to be twisted back into a seat and told it's just a game. They would take the ridicule from the brighter students that participated in a measured and cautious way. I couldn't let the Roberts lose again.
The other option of just letting the experiment run its course was also out of the question. Things were already getting out of control. Wednesday evening someone had broken into the room and ransacked the place. (I later found out it was the father of one of the students. He was a retired air force colonel who had spent time in a German prisoner of war camp. Upon hearing of our activity he simply lost control. Late in the evening he broke into the room and tore it apart. I found him that morning propped up against the classroom door. He told me about his friends that had been killed in Germany. He was holding on to me and shaking. In staccato words he pleaded that I understand and help him get home. I called his wife and with the help of a neighbor walked him home. We spent hours later talking about what he felt and did, but from that moment on Thursday morning I was more concerned with what might be happening at school.
I was increasingly worried about how our activity was affecting the faculty and other students in the school. The Third Wave was disrupting normal learning. Students were cutting class to participate and the school counselors were beginning to question every student in the class. The real gestapo in the school was at work. Faced with this experiment exploding in one hundred directions, I decided to try an old basketball strategy. When you're playing against all the odds the best action to take is to try the unexpected. That's what I did.
By Thursday the class had swollen in size to over eighty students. The only thing that allowed them all to fit was the enforced discipline of sitting in silence at attention. A strange calm is in effect when a room full of people sit in quite observation and anticipation. It helped me approach them in a deliberate way. I talked about pride. "Pride is more than banners or salutes. Pride Is something no one can take from you. Pride is knowing you are the best... It can't be destroyed ..."
In the midst of this crescendo I abruptly changed and lowered my voice to announce the real reason for the Third Wave. In slow methodic tone I explained what was behind the Third Wave. "The Third Wave isn't just an experiment or classroom activity. It's far more important than that. The Third Wave Is a nationwide program to find students who are willing to fight for political change in this country. That's right. This activity we have been doing has been practice for the real thing. Across the country teachers like myself have been recruiting and training a youth brigade capable of showing the nation a better society through discipline, community. pride, and action. If we can change the way that school is run, we can change the way that factories, stores, universities and all the other institutions are run. You are a selected group of young people chosen to help in this cause. If you will stand up and display what You have learned in the past four days...we can change the destiny of this nation. We can bring it a new sense of order. community, pride and action. A new purpose. Everything rests with you and your willingness to take a stand."
To give validity to the seriousness of my words I turned to the three women in the class whom I knew had questioned the Third Wave. I demanded that they leave the room. I explained why I acted and then assigned four guards to escort the women to the library and to restrain them from entering the class an Friday. Then in dramatic style I informed the class of a special noon rally to take place on Friday. This would be a rally for Third Wave Members only.
It was a wild gamble. I just kept talking. Afraid that if I stopped someone would laugh or ask a question and the grand scheme would dissolve in chaos. I explained how at noon on Friday a national candidate for president would announce the formation of a Third Wave Youth Program. Simultaneous to this announcement over 1000 youth groups from every part of the country would stand up and display their support for such a movement. I confided that they were the students selected to represent their area. I also questioned if they could make a good showing, because the press had been invited to record the event. No one laughed. There was not a murmur of resistance. quite the contrary. A fever pitch of excitement swelled across the room. "We can do it!" "Should we wear white shirts?" "Can we bring friends?" "Mr. Jones, have you seen this advertisement in Time magazine?"
The clincher came quite by accident. It was a full page color advertisement in the current issue of Time for some lumber products. The advertiser identified his product as the Third Wave. The advertisement proclaimed in big red, white and blue letters, "The Third Wave is coming." ''Is this part of the campaign, Mr. Jones?" "Is it a code or something?" "Yes. Now listen carefully..."
"It's all set for tomorrow. Be in the small auditorium ten minutes before 12:00. Be seated. Be ready to display the discipline, community, and pride you have learned. Don't talk to anyone about this. This rally is for members only."
STRENGTH THROUGH UNDERSTANDING
On Friday, the final day of the exercise, I spent the early morning preparing the auditorium for the rally. At eleven thirty students began to make their way into the room; at first a few scouting the way and then more. Row after row began to fill. A hushed silence shrouded the room. Third Wave banners hung like clouds over the assembly. At twelve o'clock sharp I closed the room and placed guards at each door. Several friends of mine posing as reporters and photographers began to interact with the crowd taking pictures and jotting frantic descriptive notes. A group photograph was taken. Over two hundred students were crammed into the room. Not a vacant seat could be found. The group seemed to be composed of students from many persuasions. There were the athletes, the social prominents, the student leaders, the loners, the group of kids that always left school early, the bikers, the pseudo hip, a few representatives of the school's dadaist click, and some of the students that hung out at the laundromat. The entire collection however looked like one force as they sat in perfect attention. Every person focusing on the TV set I had in the front of the room. No one moved. The room was empty of sound. It was like we were all witness to a birth. The tension and anticipation was beyond belief.
"Before turning on the national press conference, which begins in five minutes, I want to demonstrate to the press the extent of our training." With that, I gave the salute followed automatically by two hundred arms stabbing a reply. I then said the words "Strength Through Discipline" followed by a repetitive chorus. We did this again, and again. Each time the response was louder. The photographers were circling the ritual snapping pictures but by now they were ignored. I reiterated the importance of this event and asked once more for a show of allegiance. It was the last time I would ask anyone to recite. The room rocked with a guttural cry, "Strength Through Discipline."
It was 12:05. I turned off the lights in the room and walked quickly to the television set. The air in the room seemed to be drying up. It felt hard to breathe and even harder to talk. It was as if the climax of shouting souls had pushed everything out of' the room. I switched the television set on. I was now standing next to the television directly facing the room full of people. The machine came to life producing a luminous field of phosphorus light. Robert was at my side. I whispered to him to watch closely and pay attention to the next few minutes. The only light in the room was coming from the television and it played against the faces in the room. Eyes strained and pulled at the light but the pattern didn't change. The room stayed deadly still. Waiting. There was a mental tug of war between the people in the room and the television. The television won. The white glow of the test pattern didn't snap into the vision of a political candidate. It just whined on. Still the viewers persisted. There must be a program. It must be coming on. Where is it? The trance with the television continued for what seemed like hours. It was 12:07. Nothing. A blank field of white. It's not going to happen. Anticipation turned to anxiety and then to frustration. Someone stood up and shouted.
"There isn't any leader is there?" "Everyone turned in shock. first to the despondent student and then back to the television. Their faces held looks of disbelief.
In the confusion of the moment I moved slowly toward the television. I turned it off. I felt air rush back into the room. The room remained in fixed silence but for the first time I could sense people breathing. Students were withdrawing their arms from behind their chairs. I expected a flood of questions, but instead got intense quietness. I began to talk. Every word seemed to be taken and absorbed.
"Listen closely, I have something important to tell you." "Sit down." "There is no leader! There is no such thing as a national youth movement called the Third Wave. You have been used. Manipulated. Shoved by your own desires into the place you now find yourself. You are no better or worse than the German Nazis we have been studying."
"You thought that you were the select. That you were better than those outside this room. You bargained your freedom for the comfort of discipline and superiority. You chose to accept that group's will and the big lie over your own conviction. Oh, you think to yourself that you were just going along for the fun. That you could extricate yourself at any moment. But where were you heading? How far would you have gone? Let me show you your future."
With that I switched on a rear screen projector. It quickly illuminated a white drop cloth hanging behind the television. Large numbers appeared in a countdown. The roar of the Nuremberg Rally blasted into vision. My heart was pounding. In ghostly images the history of the Third Reich paraded into the room. The discipline. The march of super race. The big lie. Arrogance, violence, terror. People being pushed into vans. The visual stench of death camps. Faces without eyes. The trials. The plea of ignorance. I was only doing my job. My job. As abruptly as it started the film froze to a halt on a single written frame. "Everyone must accept the blame No one can claim that they didn't in some way take part."
The room stayed dark as the final footage of film flapped against the projector. I felt sick to my stomach. The room sweat and smelt like a locker room. No one moved. It was as if everyone wanted to dissect the moment, figure out what had happened. Like awakening from a dream and deep sleep, the entire room of people took one last look back into their consciousness. I waited for several minutes to let everyone catch up. Finally questions began to emerge. All of the questions probed at imaginary situations and sought to discover the meaning of this event.
In the still darkened room I began the explanation. I confessed my feeling of sickness and remorse. I told the assembly that a full explanation would take quite a while. But to start. I sensed myself moving from an introspective participant in the event toward the role of teacher. It's easier being a teacher. In objective terms I began to describe the past events.
"Through the experience of the past week we have all tasted what it was like to live and act in Nazi Germany. We learned what it felt like to create a disciplined social environment. To build a special society. Pledge allegiance to that society. Replace reason with rules. Yes, we would all have made good Germans. We would have put on the uniform. Turned our head as friends and neighbors were cursed and then persecuted. Pulled the locks shut. Worked in the "defense" plants. Burned ideas. Yes, we know in a small way what it feels like to find a hero. To grab quick solution. Feel strong and in control of destiny. We know the fear of being left out. The pleasure of doing something right and being rewarded. To be number one. To be right. Taken to an extreme we have seen and perhaps felt what these actions will lead to. We each have witnessed something over the past week. We have seen that fascism is not just something those other people did. No. it's right here. In this room. In our own personal habits and way of life. Scratch the surface and it appears. Something in all of us. We carry it like a disease. The belief that human beings are basically evil and therefore unable to act well toward each other. A belief that demands a strong leader and discipline to preserve social order. And there is something else. The act of apology.
"This is the final lesson to be experienced. This last lesson is perhaps the one of greatest importance. This lesson was the question that started our plunge in studying Nazi life. Do you remember the question? It concerned a bewilderment at the German populace claiming ignorance and non-involvement in the Nazi movement. If I remember the question. it went something like this. How could the German soldier, teacher, railroad conductor, nurse. tax collector. the average citizen, claim at the end of the Third Reich that they knew nothing of what was going on. How can a people be a part of something and then claim at the demise that they were not really involved? What causes people to blank out their own history? In the next few minutes and perhaps years, you will have an opportunity to answer this question."
"If our enactment of the Fascist mentality is complete not one of you will ever admit to being at this final Third Wave rally. Like the Germans, you will have trouble admitting to yourself that you had come this far. You will not allow your friends and parents to know that you were willing to give up individual freedom and power for the dictates of order and unseen leaders. You can't admit to being manipulated. Being a follower. To accepting the Third Wave as a way of life. You won't admit to participating in this madness. You will keep this day and this rally a secret. It's a secret I shall share with you."
I took the film from the three cameras in the room and pulled the celluloid into the exposing light. The deed was concluded. The trial was over. The Third Wave had ended. I glanced over my shoulder. Robert was crying. Students slowly rose from their chairs and without words filed into the outdoor light. I walked over to Robert and threw my arms around him. Robert was sobbing. Taking in large uncontrollable gulps of air. "It's over. It's all right." In our consoling each other we became a rock in the stream of exiting students. Some swirled back to momentarily hold Robert and me. Others cried openly and then brushed away tears to carry on. Human beings circling and holding each other. Moving toward the door and the world outside.
For a week in the middle of a school year we had shared fully in life. And as predicted we also shared a deep secret. In the four years I taught at Cubberley High School no one ever admitted to attending the Third Wave Rally. Oh, we talked and studied our actions intently. But the rally itself. No. It was something we all wanted to forget.
– Ron Jones