I had my windows up. 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 … They were told that they would be spat on. 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. The military leadership wanted to avoid this, hence the "no uniforms" order. I am so glad people's attitudes toward the military has changed. of the Navy did not want sailors walking through the throng. Franklin, Ben A. New York Times. And remember that the whole population can't be characterized by the actions of a few. Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. The only contemporary accounts we have of spitting was during the Republican convention in 1972. This list is way out of date. The phenomenon of vets being spit on seems to be largely anecdotal so I'm not sure I can faithfully speak to its veracity. Once Australia had withdrawn from the war in 1973, even the conservative side of politics distanced themselves from the war, leaving the military, especially the conscripts, feeling badly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. 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. 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. 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. New York Times n.d.: n. pag. I am personally confused about this issue given the varying levels of experiences and evidence from both sides. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. It is a myth that returning Vietnam vets were spat upon by antiwar activists when they returned from the war. Veterans in the United States Senate. 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. The forward port was in the Philippines The Home port was Okinawa and Service port was San Diego. 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 … Mistreatment of vets, more often than not, seemed to be a lack of respect or recognition. A 1971 Harris poll conducted for the Veterans Administration found over 90 percent of Vietnam veterans reporting a friendly homecoming. ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. 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. My father was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier. During the Vietnam War, Australian army and navy men were told to not wear their uniforms when on leave back home. That's not true. Many campuses around the country started to ban any show of military on campus, like public displays of ROTC. What have you guys heard? and the protests were bigger in Japan. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. Do you have relatives who are veterans? Vietnam vets were raised in a society that honored veterans. This is a somewhat more serious subreddit compared to many others. Very rarely. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. That's why it was considered such an outrage... a drafted soldier shouldn't be the scapegoat for the politics of his/her nation. Another speaker noted, "For a long time we were forgotten. Cookies help us deliver our Services. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. 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. 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.". Not one. Veterans were not a monolithic group. 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. The outcome was that their morale was destroyed and they felt isolated. They were voicing their opinions. Here it is the WAR SUPPORTERS who are spitting on the pro-peace veterans. Continue Reading Below. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. 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. They were anti-nuke protesters. 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. ", 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." But now we are not forgotten, we have our memorial, we've had our parades." Despite Sirota's contentions, Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. Were Vietnam War Veterans actually spit at/ mistreated after they returned from the War? Thanks! 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. Print. Vietnam Veterans in Congress . I think if some people tried that now, they would be attacked. But AFAIK the supposed abuse is very likely an urban legend or maybe happened once or twice at most. 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." That study shows only a handful (32) of instances were presented as in any way antagonistic … Panama City Beach spring breakers spit on Vietnam veterans. 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"). 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! Press J to jump to the feed. ------------------------------------------------------------ (SALEM, Ore.) - Americans overwhelmingly believe that U.S. combat veterans returning from Vietnam were spit on by anti-war protesters in airports. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. 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. 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. What did they say? Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten. 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. New York Times 7 May 1985: n. pag. 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. Some, like Wowwk, say they had invectives hurled their way; others, like naval officer … Convention members spat on antiwar Vietnam vets protesting, most famously told in Born on the Fourth of July. However, the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans is a bit more complicated. Would you start a physical confrontation with a trained killer who you believe is also a war criminal? My son right now is in the Navy and I am so happy at the way people treat him. (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 … 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." By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. 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. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. I was called a baby killer one time by a total stranger. Were veterans spat upon as they returned from serving in Vietnam? 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. 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. 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. Particularly on college campuses. /r/History is a place for discussions about history. He also said it wasnt like that every day it only seemed to happen when a Nuclear powered ship was pulling into port. "Choice" -- people were drafted, it wasn't always a choice. 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. 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. For some reason, in the stories it is always an airport where the spitting … I even spoke to some who could not point to Vietnam on a map. U.S. Army. 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. It Was America Versus North Vietnam. My father and my uncles were veterans who were spit on and called names for simply wearing the uniform. 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. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. The stories were usually very specific. In 1965, World War II veterans who were taking part in an antiwar demonstration were reviled as … For further discussion on how sourcing works in this subreddit, please consult this thread. Many Vietnam vets took part in the protests. 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 … Web. 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. He has pictures of the protests and a medical note about having to get stitches from getting hit with a rock by protesters. As much of the American public perceived the war as a failure, there existed a general desire to "forget" the war. For years I had been hearing stories that when American troops returned home from Vietnam, they were spat upon by anti-war protesters. Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam is a book of selected correspondence published in 1989. 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. Lots of people fee that they are free from consequence and act accordingly. 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