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Sgt. This revival brought new members who came from mostly working-class families--and who had witnessed some of the worst combat of the war. Duncan was a militant anti-Communist, but his experience in Vietnam transformed his view of the war. One was Kerry’s powerful speech before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he asked, “How can you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? Vietnam veterans throwing war medals back at Congress. Smith offered an apology to the Vietnamese people "whose hearts were broken, not won," because of "genocide, racism and atrocity." They sat in at the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the illegality of the war. Washington's strategy was for a "total war"--so soldiers were ordered to burn down villages, destroy large areas of the countryside and kill as many NLF fighters as possible. The Vietnam War ended for most Americans in January 1973, when Richard Nixon announced a peace settlement–though, in fact, the fall of Saigon, which marked Washington’s final defeat, was still two years away. I was Tweeting about this last night with reps from WGBH and American Experience, and asked them that question. Next came Dewey Canyon III. The VVAW played an important role in bringing about the end of that war--and to this day, the organization continues, having joined the protest against Bush's latest invasion of Iraq. For the mainly working-class soldiers who the U.S. sent to fight the Vietnamese people, the war was a huge shock. One was Kerry's powerful speech before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he asked, "How can you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? FOLLOWING THE Democratic National Convention, John Kerry came under sustained attack by a group of pro-Bush Vietnam veterans who call themselves Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. JOE ALLEN writes for the Socialist Worker.

He said that his medals were a “symbol of dishonor, shame and inhumanity.”.

John Kerry also joined at this time. JOE ALLEN is the author of Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost.

Jamie Henry said that he witnessed the murder of 19 women and children during his tour of duty, which he reported to superiors, but got no response. The group revived over the next two years as a result of a political awakening of Vietnam veterans–around such issues as their ill treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals, public exposure of the war crimes committed at My Lai, and the killing of student antiwar demonstrators at Kent State University following Richard Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia in 1970. In February 1966, ex-Green Beret Master Sgt. Al Hubbard, a Black veteran, raised the need to address the racist treatment of African American soldiers and veterans. Bill Ehrhardt, a Marine in Vietnam, said the reality of the war produced a “staggering realization.” “In grade school, we learned about the redcoats, the nasty British soldiers that tried to stifle our freedom,” he wrote. The face of the antiwar movement–until then associated mainly with college students–had changed for millions of people. The statements of the vets were painful, gut wrenching and tear-filled, riveting and shocking everyone present. Richard Steinke, a West Point graduate stationed in Vietnam refused to board an aircraft that was supposed to take him to a remote Vietnamese village.

The war that the U.S. fought in Vietnam was a war against a people who had been trying to free their country from foreign domination for many decades. That morning more than 800 veterans individually tossed their medals, ribbons, discharge papers, and other war mementos on the steps of the Capitol, rejecting the Vietnam War and the significance of those awards. "The Vietnamese war," Steinke said, "is not worth a single American life." It was named after a U.S. military series of small-scale incursions into Laos and Cambodia by the same name. Barry was an army veteran who had been stationed in Vietnam in 1963. The group revived over the next two years as a result of a political awakening of Vietnam veterans--around such issues as their ill treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals, public exposure of the war crimes committed at My Lai, and the killing of student antiwar demonstrators at Kent State University following Richard Nixon's invasion of Cambodia in 1970. The VVAW played an important role in bringing about the end of that war–and to this day, the organization continues, having joined the protest against Bush’s latest invasion of Iraq. Duncan was a militant anti-Communist, but his experience in Vietnam transformed his view of the war. Another 500 to 700 veterans came from across the country to listen. "In grade school, we learned about the redcoats, the nasty British soldiers that tried to stifle our freedom," he wrote. But for veterans, tossing away the recognition they received for service was the most symbolic way they could demonstrate their utter contempt for those that sent them to fight. Vietnam Veterans are “quite different from veterans of earlier wars,” observed Ralph Nader in 1973–then at the height of his fame as a consumer advocate. The French tried to re-colonize Vietnam, but they were defeated by the Vietminh movement after a nine-year war.

", As left-wing historian Howard Zinn wrote, "The individual acts multiplied. In 1945, the Vietminh declared Vietnam independent from its colonial master France. Jack Smith, a highly decorated ex-Marine sergeant, was the first to go. A Vietnam veteran hurls his service recognition memorabilia toward the U.S. Capitol April 23, 1971. But their campaign against Kerry also represents the latest effort by right-wing groups to erase from history the role that U.S. soldiers--both active-duty GIs and veterans who returned to the U.S.--played in ending the war in Vietnam. The second--and far more important--was a ceremony in which veterans "returned" their medals to the U.S. government, by throwing them over a fence in front of the U.S. Capitol building. For the mainly working-class soldiers who the U.S. sent to fight the Vietnamese people, the war was a huge shock. The second–and far more important–was a ceremony in which veterans “returned” their medals to the U.S. government, by throwing them over a fence in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Other hearings modeled on the ones in Detroit were held across the country, and members of Congress publicly called for official investigations into the charges that the Winter Soldiers raised. And it also means challenging the John Kerry of today, who wants to run away from this antiwar legacy. “Subconsciously, but not very subconsciously, I began increasingly to have the feeling that I was a redcoat.”. When they arrived, they found a fence had been erected overnight to keep them from getting close to the Capitol building. The "new winter soldiers," as they saw themselves, hoped to end the Vietnam War by exposing U.S. war crimes. The three were from working-class families, and they denounced the war as "immoral, illegal and unjust."

The immediate goal of the Swift Boat veterans is to re-elect George W. Bush. The face of the antiwar movement--until then associated mainly with college students--had changed for millions of people. The veterans quickly improvised and hung a sign reading “TRASH” on a statue on the Capitol grounds. During that weekend, more than 100 veterans from Vietnam testified about the atrocities that they participated in or witnessed. And what role did this resistance and organizations like VVAW play in ending the war in Vietnam? Others began to realize that they were fighting on the wrong side. The Dewey Canyon III demonstrations were the lead story every night on the television news--and on the front page of newspapers across the country. Police Violence: a Crisis of Masculinity? The struggle of U.S. soldiers against the war–and their organization, the VVAW–should be remembered, celebrated and defended. The war sickened many U.S. soldiers, seeming to be a pointless exercise in destruction. Next came Dewey Canyon III. Jan Barry presented a Congressional delegation with a list of 16 demands from the VVAW, which included: “immediate, unilateral, unconditional withdrawal” of all U.S. forces from Indochina; amnesty for all Americans who refused to fight in Vietnam; a formal inquiry into war crimes; and improved veterans benefits. The moment made Kerry into one of the most recognized figures in the antiwar movement. They humiliated Strom Thurmond, the racist bigot and pro-war senator. What was it about the Vietnam War that produced this high level of opposition within the military? One veteran summed up the anger at the VVAW demonstration when he said as he threw his medals away, “"If we have to fight again, it will be to take these steps.

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