Just had to link to a blog, Just One Minute, about the subject of those on the left who spit on Vietnam Veterans when they returned and how the left is now trying to say that it never happened. Check out the blog here. The real reason I’m blogging about it is to post a few of the comment made on the original blog. Here is a few comments I just have to highlight:
I am a Vietnam era vet, honorably discharged in 1969 after approximately 2 years, 10 months and 22 days of service. I was spit on, although the real deal was the name calling, especially “baby killer,” and the silence. A pilot friend, on getting out, was told, not asked, when the interviewer (young) said to him, “Oh, you’re a baby killer.” He broke his nose and went to Paris to cool off for a year. I wound up state side. Could fly half fare in uniform. I stopped traveling in uniform because of the name calling (some spitting). Without the uniform they would just looked at the closed cropped hair and scowl. When I applied for graduate school the grad students tried to keep me out on the “fact” that I was a baby killer. If a prof hadn’t gone to bat for me I would not have gotten in. And although no one dared confrom me face to face, I was told that come the revolution (and they seriously believed a socialist revolution would “soon” take place), that I would be one of the first ones they would have shot. This was not personal, just intellectual business, something that had to be done across the board.
Many of the anti-war vets in DC in the 70s were guys who did not serve in Vietnam but did want extra compensation for having served. My view was that only combat vets deserved extra. In spring 2002, while in a HS class of my last son, Vietnam came up. I corrected a fact. I was asked by students if I was in the service during Vietnam. I nodded yes. They came up and shook my hand and thanked me for my service. First time in the 32.5 years since my service ended. That summer I ran into three guys from California in town for a training camp. We got to talking and each had the same exerience: Spring of post 9/11 we were each finally thanked by people for our service.
Now, why don’t you hear about the spitting, etc? Because few vets whine. And who would brag about that? That’s not our deal. We mostly grinned and bore it. I am in the VA system for health care. Go to any VA hospital, and check out the medical condition of many of the Vietnam combat veterans. Dispite the amputees and other problems, I have yet to hear someone complain except or the fact that too many are not supporting the guys on the line now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you don’t hear complaints things didn’t happen. Most that I know are proud of their service even when it isn’t clear to them why they were at war. And most of us who were drafted (if we survived) were of the mind that we would never want to do it again but were glad to have done it.
Note the big difference between soldiers in Vietnam wanting to go home and many soldiers today wanting to go back, including amputees. It is a different military with a different sense of purpose. The country, in my view, will be the better for it as they rotate back to the states. We still need to do better making sure their families are taken care of while they are in combat rotation. Two good places to start would be a GI Bill and GI housing at reduced interest rates for combat veterans.
Posted by: Peter Jessen | May 6, 2005 05:49 PM
And this one:
USAF sent me thru a special two month graduate course in public communications at Boston University prior to my assignment to SEA. We were required to wear our uniforms every Thursday. One Thursday in November 1967, I was walking to class when a coed walked towards me on a collision course. I moved to step aside and she hacked up a glob of spit. Being shorter, she got only the tip of my chin, throat, and shirt collar. She spun around and ran about 15 yards to a waiting boy and, giggling together, the pair ran away. There had been policy statements through various AF channels that advised us not to respond to taunts, etc. I wiped the stuff off with my blouse sleeve and went on to class.
After 22 months in SEA, I stepped off the airplane at Travis and three days later started graduate classes at USC in Cinema. I had no overt reaction from any of my fellow students, most of whom were virulently anti-war. A couple of the professors were snippy. The real problem was finding any job. “Vietnam Vet” does not sell well in Hollywood employment efforts. After a few years of scratching at the underbelly of the beast, I wound up with the FAA.
Those Boston folks always were trend setters. I don’t know whether I’d feel better if I’d chased after her and pounded her and her silly boyfriend. But I will now offer to meet any thumb sucker who says that people in uniform were not spat upon. I’ll even let you swing first.
Posted by: Billy Hank | May 8, 2005 11:01 AM
I returned from a tour in Vietnam in 04/69 and got out to attend school. No, I was never spit upon. But I did suffer many other indignities. People at school would think I was a pretty good fellow, until they discovered I wasn’t a senior, but a freshman instead. Then you could see the hate rising. Within seconds I would go from being a buddy to being a baby killer. What really got to me was that these were the same people who had been saying how non-judgemental they were. That is when I learned that being a liberal and being well educated does not automatically make one a thoughtful person. I’m thankful I attended an Ag/Engineering school where the vast majority of the student body were pragmatic sorts. If I had gone to UCLA instead of Cal Poly, I would have had to go underground to survive. Thats pretty much what most of us did more or less. We ducked down, kept our mouth shut and made the best of things. I never thought I would ever be thanked for my service. So, after 9/11, it came as a great shock when people started publicly approaching me and thanking me for being a Vietnam Vet. To this day, I am unable to avoid a certain embarrasment when that happens.
Posted by: 74 | May 8, 2005 11:11 AM
My husband was stationed at an army base in the south during the Vietnam War, and we lived in off-base housing, but shopped in the commissary for our food. The main gate was a routine gathering place for college-age protestors dressed in fringed ponchos, sandals, and long hair, and guess what? Being their age, I dressed that way too. But my car had a base sticker in the corner of the windshield identifying its driver as The Enemy, and as I drove through the gate one day, one of the girls yelled something (I couldn’t make it out), and spat at the car.
I wasn’t a soldier. She didn’t spit on me personally. But I certainly recognized the intent.
Posted by: RebeccaH | May 8, 2005 12:23 PM