Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans … The forward port was in the Philippines The Home port was Okinawa and Service port was San Diego. 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. Franklin, Ben A. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. The military leadership wanted to avoid this, hence the "no uniforms" order. 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. 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. The outcome was that their morale was destroyed and they felt isolated. In 1965, World War II veterans who were taking part in an antiwar demonstration were reviled as … Web. Another speaker noted, "For a long time we were forgotten. Most soldiers drafted after 1968 were antiwar even before they went … A friend of mine says that it is just a myth but I'm skeptical. 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. Continue Reading Below. New York Times 7 May 1985: n. pag. Were Vietnam War Veterans actually spit at/ mistreated after they returned from the War? Some, like Wowwk, say they had invectives hurled their way; others, like naval officer … 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. (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 … 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. and the protests were bigger in Japan. "Choice" -- people were drafted, it wasn't always a choice. Make sure to familiarize yourself with our rules and guidelines before participating. 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. of the Navy did not want sailors walking through the throng. During Fourth of July parades, the WWI and WWII and Korean War vets would come out to march, and there were very few Vietnam vets who wanted to participate due to the negative attitude they got from some people. That's not true. Not one. I am so glad people's attitudes toward the military has changed. Whether or not this was the case, they all believed it. I think if some people tried that now, they would be attacked. Would you start a physical confrontation with a trained killer who you believe is also a war criminal? 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"). Vietnam vets were raised in a society that honored veterans. For some reason, in the stories it is always an airport where the spitting … 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. 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." The stories were usually very specific. And remember that the whole population can't be characterized by the actions of a few. Follow up question: what is the origin for stories of returning Vietnam vets being spit on? I even spoke to some who could not point to Vietnam on a map. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten. ------------------------------------------------------------ Convention members spat on antiwar Vietnam vets protesting, most famously told in Born on the Fourth of July. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. 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. 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. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. My father and my uncles were veterans who were spit on and called names for simply wearing the uniform. 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. Were veterans spat upon as they returned from serving in Vietnam? He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. Lots of people fee that they are free from consequence and act accordingly. Many Vietnam vets took part in the protests. My father was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier. 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. My son right now is in the Navy and I am so happy at the way people treat him. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. The low-ranking military were often very ill-informed about the background of the war. I am personally confused about this issue given the varying levels of experiences and evidence from both sides. I had my windows up. Here it is the WAR SUPPORTERS who are spitting on the pro-peace veterans. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. That study shows only a handful (32) of instances were presented as in any way antagonistic … If you would like to volunteer to help us update and maintain this section, please send email to Bill McBride . In short, your friend's claim that veterans' mistreatment is a "myth" is misleading at best. They were anti-nuke protesters. 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. 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. It is a myth that returning Vietnam vets were spat upon by antiwar activists when they returned from the war. 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 … The only contemporary accounts we have of spitting was during the Republican convention in 1972. I was called a baby killer one time by a total stranger. That's why it was considered such an outrage... a drafted soldier shouldn't be the scapegoat for the politics of his/her nation. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. Despite Sirota's contentions, Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. This list is way out of date. We will either remove it or have someone update it this year (1999). 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. 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. Cookies help us deliver our Services. 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.". Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. 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. 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. They were told that they would be spat on. As much of the American public perceived the war as a failure, there existed a general desire to "forget" the war. 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. Appy, Christian G. Working-class war: American combat soldiers and Vietnam. However, the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans is a bit more complicated. New York Times n.d.: n. pag. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten." 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. /r/History is a place for discussions about history. Print. Gross, Jane. Chapel Hill, N.C: U of North Carolina Press, 1993. Do you have relatives who are veterans? The Portal for Public History Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. Many campuses around the country started to ban any show of military on campus, like public displays of ROTC. In 1998 sociologist and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke published "The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam." The phenomenon of vets being spit on seems to be largely anecdotal so I'm not sure I can faithfully speak to its veracity. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Thanks! 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. The first reported instance of spitting occurs during an International Day of Protest featuring "Veterans for Peace in Vietnam." 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 … This is a somewhat more serious subreddit compared to many others. 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. U.S. Army. The Vietnam Memorial. 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 … There is not a single corroborating news report from that time of any solider being spat upon. They took a bus from the base for protection as the Dept. New York Times. 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. That is how most of us saw this. 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. ", 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." 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