Real Facts About Vietnam Veterans

by Steven E. Myers
(PA, USA)

Steven writes: Here's Some "Real Facts" about Vietnam Veterans, not regurgitated from Generals!!


Sorry. These are not "real facts." Continue reading below.

Fact: There has not been ONE documented case of any returning soldier being spit upon. On the contrary, many vietnam Vets joined in the anti-war movement to stop the useless loss of our most important national resource--our young men and womwn--for war or adventure meant to secure a colony for France.

Read Lembcke's The Spitting Image, then if you have a documentable case, let him know. Lembcke, a Vietnam vet, researched this myth and found incredulously that most of the activist vets were in league with the anti-war movement through efforts of Vietnam Vets Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and the Vietnam Moratorium Commission all documented by the GI Press Service.

While vilification may have happened in some form, it was not the overwhelming sentiment of the Peace Movement, who made it quite clear they were for our soldiers, but against the war.

Fact: There was no Domino Principle. We were sucked into a civil war to keep France's colony in Western hands. The independence movement in Vietnam, first led by Nguyen Ái Quoc, and later by Ho Chi Mhin (Editor's note: Ho Chi Minh was also known as Nguyen Ai Quoc, the name he used when in France), petitioned the American Government under Presidents Wilson and Truman to help them attain freedom from France and set up a Democratic republic based on the US Constitution. Both requests for aid were rebuffed.

Later, Mhin was able to procure that aid from China. That is why thier republic was Socialitic.

The US government would not aid freedom and independence from an alli. The Democratic governments in Southeast Asia should be grateful that the help they needed in seeking freedom was made available, unlike in the case of Vietnam. Also, quoting something from Westmoreland about the domino principle is like quoting someone from the NRA about the benefit and safety of guns in our society. How about a source less bias.

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Steven,

Are you a Vietnam veteran? Are you a veteran?

How old were you when America was involved in the Vietnam war?

We find it ironic that you chose Memorial Day to disparage our Vietnam veterans, essentially calling them liars. We deliberately held your submission till after this somber day for reflecting and honoring those who have given the last full measure of devotion to our country.

Before you make such dramatic and dogmatic statements as this, "There has not been ONE documented case of any returning soldier being spit upon," you would be well-served to do even minimal research, and perhaps read more than just one book.

Jerry Lembcke's book The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, published in 1998, may well have made such a bold claim. Doing so probably helped him sell thousands of books.

But a simple search on Google will return numerous "documented" stories of Vietnam veterans being spit upon when they returned from war. Apparently, both you and Mr. Lembcke chose to ignore those inconvenient truths.

True, not all such incidents involved members of the so-called "Peace Movement," but it is unlikely that without the very vocal anti-war protests, well-publicized by mainstream media, such sentiment would have become so widespread in America. I personally don't remember any such sentiment during the Vietnam era that the "Peace Movement" was for our soldiers, but against the war.

If that were the case, why did they lash out against our soldiers instead of against the government, whose policies were simply carried out by the soldiers?

Chicago syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene mentioned in his column one day that some Vietnam veterans were spit upon when they returned. He got so much mail in response that he asked readers "Were you ever spat upon when you returned home to the United States?"

According to Library Journal, "He received over 1,000 letters in reply, many recounting specific details of just such a painfully remembered incident. Evidently this recollection of 'hippies' (as they are often called in the letters) spitting on combat veterans has become one of the war's most unpleasant, enduring images.

Conversely, other letters describe acts of generosity toward servicemen, from the typical free beers at the bar to a free show. But the over 200 letters excerpted here do more than confirm popular notions. They bring back the incidents of 20 years ago vividly, but not always with bitterness. And they reveal healing solidarity among veterans in response to what for many was not a happy homecoming."

Those responses are published in Greene's 1989 book, Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam., published nine years before Lembcke's book.

According to Publishers Weekly, "Some servicemen were spat upon on their return, but more suffered verbal abuse or icy indifference. Many contributors point out that they did what their country asked them to do, and they were stunned by the cruelty, even savagery, of some of the anti-war protesters, many of whom proclaimed belief in love and peace. Some are still not reconciled to the treatment they received, when others welcome the change in the attitude toward them as a chance to 'wipe a little spit off our hearts.'"

These stories were published (and thus "documented") some nine years prior to Lembcke's book. So we can't imagine how he (or you) could make such a definitive and blatantly incorrect statement.

One of the writers at Blackfive says it happened to him.

And on DailyPundit.com, Bill Quick even admits to being one of the spitters:

"I was a red-hot leftist (marxist) revolutionary back then, and I did spit on a couple of returning vets. From the safety of a crowd, behind a barricade and a police line.

I was an America-hating asshole and a coward. I’ve learned better, and I’ve learned to feel regret for my shameful actions then. Can’t say the same for the current crowd of shameless, cowardly, America-hating leftist jerks, though."

Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize winner and former assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, writes in his book, The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966 of Captain Tom Carhart's return from Vietnam, pp. 324-5:

"Still in uniform, he was strolling through the O'Hare terminal in search of a telephone when a group of hippie girls darted up and spat on him. The shock and pain could have been no more intense if they had slashed him with knives.

Reeling with surprise and uncertain what to do, he did nothing. His assailants scampered off through the airport crush as Tom wiped the saliva from his face, now aflame with humiliation. That night he got into an argument about the war with his friends' daughter, who was home from college. 'This is great,' he told himself sardonically. 'I'm back less than twenty-four hours, I get spat on, then I get hassled by my countrymen over a cause for which I got myself shot twice. Welcome home, Johnny.'"

(Read more stories from Vietnam vets who were spit upon at Vietnam Veterans Spit On, part 2)


Comments for Real Facts About Vietnam Veterans

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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for this rebuttal to Stevens article.

I have known a few Vietnam Vets who would have been appalled and offended by the statement "not one documented case of being spat upon."

I can thank him for leading me to this site however. It was this callus claim that caught my eye while I was researching for a school presentation relating to the sixties.


Indifference
by: Vietnam Vet USMC

I came back from "In Country" in late 1970. I never experienced any sort of attack, but was surprised by my family.

They treated my tour in SEA as if I had been in prison, or some other socially unacceptable place.

Even today, 2011, no one in my family has ever asked me about my experiences there, or wanted me to talk about it. It seems to be a forbidden subject.

The only ones I've ever discussed my experiences with are fellow vets, and they understand without being told.

Want to know how to quickly tell if a so-called vet of RVN was actually there. I say: "I was in I corps, where were you?"

Their answer almost always tells me if they were actually there or not.

Semper Fi.




Welcome home, and thank you for your service to our country.


Do a little more research...
by: dragon6actual

Steven,

Before attempting to perpetuate a lie, make certain all who saw incidents you and your ilk claim never happened are no longer around to refute your absurd position.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1976 - just out of high school. I remember seeing - both first hand and in footage on various local news programs - returning Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines being spat upon, pelted with tomatoes, etc.

Do a little investigating, talk to those who returned to the US from tours in Viet Nam. Ask them how "well" they were treated by those who now insist "our fight was with the government - not the returning military". When you are educated, come back and report.


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