Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 1971: VVAW and Dewey Canyon III

I had just gotten home from my tour in country Vietnam and heading to my discharge of my four years in the Navy, all shore, when Dewey Canyon III took place, my discharge date was a couple of days previous, 19 April 1971 in Calif.

And the Country, not only ignored what we were saying as to issues like PTS, Agent Orange and much more, but never came to terms after saying they'd never forget the lessons of, now we have two more long occupations that once again will, and most already have, be walked away from! No Demand that the Country Sacrifice not only as to the wars but the results of, a decade plus now added to the previous decades and wars of!

In the final event of Operation Dewey Canyon III, nearly 1,000 Vietnam War veterans threw their combat ribbons, helmets, and uniforms on the U.S. Capitol steps along with toy weapons.

Read more about Operation Dewey Canyon III
I was one of those people who actually went to the Woodstock music festival in August 1969. I mention this because the experience was an important influence on me at the time. The idea of a three-day rock concert in the rolling hills of sunny, upstate New York instead of the ugly confines of Fillmore East and Madison Square Garden was very appealing. That it turned out to be a watershed moment of the times was lost on us as we began the drive that Friday morning. After three days of great delays, torrential downpours, mud, scarcity of food, cut feet, and loss of socks, shoes, shirt and wallet, I returned home.

The music, however, was, to use a Sixties term, "mindblowing." The indescribable bonding of the tens of thousands of us bogged down in traffic, shoehorned on a sloping hillside, sharing food, and smiling, smiling, smiling at our discomfort took on a life equal to or surpassing that on the stage. Woodstock showed the possibilities of the new culture and politics, born out of the tumultuous Sixties with the civil rights struggles, assassinations, the Beatles and the interminable war in Vietnam from which I had returned in February 1968. I felt like a pioneer of a new age of politics and power. Did my life peak just turning age 23?

One year later, in August 1970, 1 saw Jane Fonda on a late night show talking about a march to Valley Forge by a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Is it possible, I thought, that there could be such a group?

(Let me digress. It's not often that I offer an article for publication in The Veteran so I am hoping that the kind editor will allow me a short paragraph. Jane Fonda is merely one of us who spoke out against the war, and she has suffered for it dearly at the hands of a conservative campaign to denigrate anti-Vietnam War activism in general.) read more>>>

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