Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans … He also said it wasnt like that every day it only seemed to happen when a Nuclear powered ship was pulling into port. Vietnam vets were raised in a society that honored veterans. Whether or not this was the case, they all believed it. In 1965, World War II veterans who were taking part in an antiwar demonstration were reviled as … I would guess that only one out of ten of the people strongly opposed to the war would actually say anything bad to a vet, so those few protest actions against vets that were seen on TV and in the press were just a very small, but vocal, segment of the overall population. ------------------------------------------------------------ For years I had been hearing stories that when American troops returned home from Vietnam, they were spat upon by anti-war protesters. Cookies help us deliver our Services. of the Navy did not want sailors walking through the throng. Is it all just an urban myth? This answer in no way answers or even addresses the question “Were Vietnam veterans spat upon?” Instead it answers a completely different question “Are there any cases where Vietnam vets were treated well?” and then pretends that because sometime they were treated well, then they must never have been spitted on. New York Times 7 May 1985: n. pag. Spitting was not uncommon, they were called baby killers, over all the viet nam vets were treated the worse of any vets in this country ever. But as he puts it the protests weren't about the war they were more about the new Nuclear Armed/Powered carriers CVN/A or CVN/B. A friend of mine says that it is just a myth but I'm skeptical. It Was America Versus North Vietnam. If you have any first-person accounts (it happened to me or I saw it happen) of returning Vietnam vets being spit on, please click below where it says, "Click to submit your own comments," and tell us about … This list is way out of date. Things have really changed in this country and the vast majority are very pro-military now, so this all may seem very odd to you now. I am sure some of the protests were about the war it self but i can only speak to what I have seen from his Navy box and the protests near the Naval bases. They were anti-nuke protesters. That's not true. However, the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans is a bit more complicated. I'm sorry, but this is not an acceptable basis for an answer in this subreddit, so I have had to remove the two YouTube videos you've linked here. And a few years after the war ended I joined the military, and got caught in a protest group, and had people mob my car and I had a shake thrown on my wind shield. New York Times n.d.: n. pag. Lots of people fee that they are free from consequence and act accordingly. The … Most soldiers drafted after 1968 were antiwar even before they went … The forward port was in the Philippines The Home port was Okinawa and Service port was San Diego. Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam is a book of selected correspondence published in 1989. Were Vietnam War Veterans actually spit at/ mistreated after they returned from the War? But now we are not forgotten, we have our memorial, we've had our parades." Those who opposed the war, and there were thousands, were welcomed with open arms by the antiwar movement, becoming a leading force in the country as Vietnam Veterans … Appy, Christian G. Working-class war: American combat soldiers and Vietnam. Thanks! But it is true that many people did not respect a person's choice to serve his/her country in those years...and had no reservations about expressing their displeasure. Veterans in the United States Senate. Panama City Beach spring breakers spit on Vietnam veterans. Likewise, at the 1985 ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New York, Mayor Koch calls the lack of previous recognition for Vietnam vets a "terrible injustice" and refers to Vietnam veterans as a "lost generation.". The military leadership wanted to avoid this, hence the "no uniforms" order. Mistreatment of vets, more often than not, seemed to be a lack of respect or recognition. It is a myth that returning Vietnam vets were spat upon by antiwar activists when they returned from the war. In the future, please keep in mind our subreddit rules, specifically what we are looking for in an answer, before attempting to tackle a question here. The truly outrageous acts were uncommon, but of course did make the news....the same as the off the wall stuff makes the news today. U.S. Army. Many campuses around the country started to ban any show of military on campus, like public displays of ROTC. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. They were told that they would be spat on. He has pictures of the protests and a medical note about having to get stitches from getting hit with a rock by protesters. My father was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier. This is a somewhat more serious subreddit compared to many others. The "spitting" part is a sadly common story, specifically the fact that anti-war protesters/hippies were waiting at airports to spit on veterans returning from combat. Print. The debate in society was about the war, and veterans were as much a part of that debate as everyone else, if not more so. They were voicing their opinions. But Lembcke's most controversial conclusion is that posttraumatic stress disorder was as much a political creation—a means of … I don't know if anyone spat on them, but it was true that when in uniform they were engaged in conversation by opponents of the war, which, by 1971, was the great majority of the population. While there's little doubt that some Vietnam vets in uniform were spat upon during those turbulent years, no proof exists that antiwar protesters were the spitters. Web. In fact, the antiwar movement and many veterans were closely aligned, and the only documented incidents show members of the VFW and American Legion spitting on their less successful Vietnam peers. "Choice" -- people were drafted, it wasn't always a choice. I even spoke to some who could not point to Vietnam on a map. It's a striking image -- these tired, grizzled men returning from a nightmare, only to be covered in hippie saliva the moment they hit the ground. Follow up question: what is the origin for stories of returning Vietnam vets being spit on? There is not a single corroborating news report from that time of any solider being spat upon. Were veterans spat upon as they returned from serving in Vietnam? Chapel Hill, N.C: U of North Carolina Press, 1993. and the protests were bigger in Japan. And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. If you would like to volunteer to help us update and maintain this section, please send email to Bill McBride . Some, like Wowwk, say they had invectives hurled their way; others, like naval officer … Feel free to submit interesting articles, tell us about this cool book you just read, or start a discussion about who everyone's favorite figure of minor French nobility is! In 1998 sociologist and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke published "The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam." College students spit and throw beer bottles at veterans April 23, 2015 April 23, 2015 Twice a year Panama City Beach welcomes our wounded heroes into the community for the Warrior Beach Retreat, but an event aimed at honoring our nation’s veterans took a different turn at their hotel. For further discussion on how sourcing works in this subreddit, please consult this thread. The Journal editorialized on March 28, that "During the 1960s and 1970s, people opposed to the Vietnam War took out their rage on the wrong … I was called a baby killer one time by a total stranger. I am so glad people's attitudes toward the military has changed. A soldier, fresh from Vietnam duty, wearing his uniform, gets off the plane at an American airport, where he is spat upon by "hippies." We will either remove it or have someone update it this year (1999). What did they say? And, as for Mr. Olbermann, the point is not whether the social science research collected in Jerry Lembcke's book "The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam" is correct and that no evidence exists of returning veterans being spit upon, but how most of these men were treated after the war. Franklin, Ben A. My father and my uncles were veterans who were spit on and called names for simply wearing the uniform. They took a bus from the base for protection as the Dept. For some reason, in the stories it is always an airport where the spitting … In short, your friend's claim that veterans' mistreatment is a "myth" is misleading at best. And the ship anchored in the Tonkin Gulf There were protested in San Diego and Okinawa they had rocks thrown and they were spit on. To your comment, I'm a combat veteran myself and dickheads would regularly walk up to me and try to pick fights or say dumb things to me when I was about. Its genesis was a controversial newspaper column of 20 July 1987 in which Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Bob Greene asked whether there was any truth to the folklore that Vietnam veterans had … While outright harassment of Vietnam veterans almost certainly did happen, mistreatment of Vietnam veterans was usually a lack of recognition-- a perceived amnesia about the sacrifices made by veterans. Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. By the late 1960s, troops in Vietnam were battling authorities over hair length, and the right to wear love-bead necklaces and draw peace symbols on their helmets. What have you guys heard? Last week, both the New York Times and U.S. News & World Report reprised the horrific accounts of Vietnam War protesters spitting on returning servicemen. As much of the American public perceived the war as a failure, there existed a general desire to "forget" the war. Press J to jump to the feed. I am personally confused about this issue given the varying levels of experiences and evidence from both sides. Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. (SALEM, Ore.) - Americans overwhelmingly believe that U.S. combat veterans returning from Vietnam were spit on by anti-war protesters in airports. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. Stories of spat-on veterans began proliferating in the U.S. media in 1990 as the country ramped up for the first Persian Gulf War. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten. That's why it was considered such an outrage... a drafted soldier shouldn't be the scapegoat for the politics of his/her nation. Make sure to familiarize yourself with our rules and guidelines before participating. Despite Sirota's contentions, Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. Born out of accusations made by the Nixon administration, they were enlivened in popular culture (recall Rambo saying he was spat on by those maggots at the airport) and enhanced in the imaginations of Vietnam-generation men — some veterans, some not. "VIETNAM IS A FOCUS FOR VETERANS DAY." Yet there is also a lot of comprehensive evidence that these stories are urban myths, and that soldiers … Convention members spat on antiwar Vietnam vets protesting, most famously told in Born on the Fourth of July. "NEW YORK PAYS HOMAGE TO VIETNAM VETERANS." New York Times. I have heard a lot of stories from people with relatives and grandfathers who were veterans that allege that they were spat upon, treated badly or were held in contempt by the public when they have gotten back. I always thought US citizens were mad at the US soldiers because of all the stories of mistreatment they did in Vietnam, like My Lai, and not just because they were soldiers. I had my windows up. Once Australia had withdrawn from the war in 1973, even the conservative side of politics distanced themselves from the war, leaving the military, especially the conscripts, feeling badly used. A 1971 Harris poll conducted for the Veterans Administration found over 90 percent of Vietnam veterans reporting a friendly homecoming. In the 1986 Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial, one speaker argued against a perception that "the cause for which we fought was not worthy of your lives." New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. But AFAIK the supposed abuse is very likely an urban legend or maybe happened once or twice at most. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. In this episode I hope to end the urban myth that Vietnam Vets were spat upon as they returned from fighting in the Vietnam War. The only contemporary accounts we have of spitting was during the Republican convention in 1972. (Flickr/Creative Commons)Investigations have been launched at two universities over accusations that fraternity members taunted wounded war heroes, urinated on an American flag, and spit on a wounded veteran and his … The Portal for Public History Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, Moderator | Shipbuilding and Logistics | British Navy 1770-1830, specifically what we are looking for in an answer. Another speaker noted, "For a long time we were forgotten. Veterans were not a monolithic group. Would you start a physical confrontation with a trained killer who you believe is also a war criminal? /r/History is a place for discussions about history. Yes, some people in the hippie/peace movement would try to find soldiers dressed in uniform and yell at them, throw things, and insult them. Some Vietnam vets are heroes, no doubt, but simply serving because you were forced to and suffering trauma or death as a result doesn’t make you a hero – it makes you a victim. Many vets will tell you it happened, and others will tell you that they never saw anything close to it. I used to read the the website Daily Kos, and some years ago, a group of progressive Vietnam veterans took this meme on by daring anybody to document an example of returning vets being spit on (the vets had an advantage of being familiar with the military units of the time, thus they could challenge people as to which unit they served in, etc), At least in his case, nobody was able to convincingly come up with proof (most responses were like, "Well my dad told me he saw it and he wasn't a liar"). Press J to jump to the feed. Not one. Do you have relatives who are veterans? I have heard a lot of stories from people with relatives and grandfathers who were veterans that allege that they were spat upon, treated badly or were held in contempt by the public when they have gotten back. Continue Reading Below. There seems too be a current meme—I see it a lot on facebook— that Vietnam vets were mistreated and spat upon when they returned. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. A video I put together in my history class about the 1960's, it is about how veterans were treated during and after the Vietnam war. Particularly on college campuses. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Here it is the WAR SUPPORTERS who are spitting on the pro-peace veterans. I protested the war, and knew some vets, and I saw them as victims getting squeezed in a vise of public opinion. The Vietnam Memorial. I think if some people tried that now, they would be attacked. And remember that the whole population can't be characterized by the actions of a few. Jerry Davich who writes for the Post-Tribune a Chicago Sun Times Publication adds support to my theory that Vietnam Vets were not spit on when they returned. ", In the 1986 Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial, one speaker argued against a perception that "the cause for which we fought was not worthy of your lives." Gross, Jane. It all depends on where you are and the time period. As Chrisitan Appy writes in Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam, this mistreatment generally did not manifest itself in "explicit acts of hostility but quieter, sometimes more devastating forms of withdrawal, suspicion, and indifference." The outcome was that their morale was destroyed and they felt isolated. One of my uncles even changed into regular clothes whenever he could and he wore a wig to escape the negativity that he constantly received. As I am saying all this way after the fact and have no links to said conversation, feel free to take this with a grain of salt. Very rarely. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten." The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. The phenomenon of vets being spit on seems to be largely anecdotal so I'm not sure I can faithfully speak to its veracity. The low-ranking military were often very ill-informed about the background of the war. My son right now is in the Navy and I am so happy at the way people treat him. Yet there is also a lot of comprehensive evidence that these stories are urban myths, and that soldiers were not spat upon, and that these stories were created and circulated by the Right Wing. He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. 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