Veterans in the United States Senate. As much of the American public perceived the war as a failure, there existed a general desire to "forget" the war. 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. During the Vietnam War, Australian army and navy men were told to not wear their uniforms when on leave back home. 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! Lots of people fee that they are free from consequence and act accordingly. It Was America Versus North Vietnam. That is how most of us saw this. New York Times. For further discussion on how sourcing works in this subreddit, please consult this thread. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. 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. Not one. 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. We will either remove it or have someone update it this year (1999). Whether or not this was the case, they all believed it. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten. And remember that the whole population can't be characterized by the actions of a few. 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. He also said it wasnt like that every day it only seemed to happen when a Nuclear powered ship was pulling into port. "VIETNAM IS A FOCUS FOR VETERANS DAY." 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." Were Vietnam War Veterans actually spit at/ mistreated after they returned from the War? A friend of mine says that it is just a myth but I'm skeptical. 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 … 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 … Convention members spat on antiwar Vietnam vets protesting, most famously told in Born on the Fourth of July. 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." And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. Gross, Jane. Veterans were not a monolithic group. 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 Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. My son right now is in the Navy and I am so happy at the way people treat him. of the Navy did not want sailors walking through the throng. There is not a single corroborating news report from that time of any solider being spat upon. I was called a baby killer one time by a total stranger. However, the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans is a bit more complicated. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. "Choice" -- people were drafted, it wasn't always a choice. 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. The Vietnam Memorial. Web. Web. That's not true. Another speaker noted, "For a long time we were forgotten. 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. Panama City Beach spring breakers spit on Vietnam veterans. Many Vietnam vets took part in the protests. What have you guys heard? 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. 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. I protested the war, and knew some vets, and I saw them as victims getting squeezed in a vise of public opinion. Mistreatment of vets, more often than not, seemed to be a lack of respect or recognition. Many campuses around the country started to ban any show of military on campus, like public displays of ROTC. 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. /r/History is a place for discussions about history. They were anti-nuke protesters. Make sure to familiarize yourself with our rules and guidelines before participating. The low-ranking military were often very ill-informed about the background of the war. Appy, Christian G. Working-class war: American combat soldiers and Vietnam. New York Times 7 May 1985: n. pag. Particularly on college campuses. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. A soldier, fresh from Vietnam duty, wearing his uniform, gets off the plane at an American airport, where he is spat upon by "hippies." I am personally confused about this issue given the varying levels of experiences and evidence from both sides. 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. (SALEM, Ore.) - Americans overwhelmingly believe that U.S. combat veterans returning from Vietnam were spit on by anti-war protesters in airports. 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. "NEW YORK PAYS HOMAGE TO VIETNAM VETERANS." Franklin, Ben A. The forward port was in the Philippines The Home port was Okinawa and Service port was San Diego. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. The phenomenon of vets being spit on seems to be largely anecdotal so I'm not sure I can faithfully speak to its veracity. In 1965, World War II veterans who were taking part in an antiwar demonstration were reviled as … 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. 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. But AFAIK the supposed abuse is very likely an urban legend or maybe happened once or twice at most. If you would like to volunteer to help us update and maintain this section, please send email to Bill McBride . New York Times n.d.: n. pag. That's why it was considered such an outrage... a drafted soldier shouldn't be the scapegoat for the politics of his/her nation. The military leadership wanted to avoid this, hence the "no uniforms" order. 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. 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. 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. Despite Sirota's contentions, Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. Is it all just an urban myth? Vietnam vets were raised in a society that honored veterans. Press J to jump to the feed. I had my windows up. 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"). 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. Were veterans spat upon as they returned from serving in Vietnam? Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. They were told that they would be spat on. Numerous first-hand accounts echo the idea that vets were "forgotten." 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. 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 … Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam is a book of selected correspondence published in 1989. Thanks! Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. It all depends on where you are and the time period. 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. That study shows only a handful (32) of instances were presented as in any way antagonistic … I even spoke to some who could not point to Vietnam on a map. 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. 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. 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. My father and my uncles were veterans who were spit on and called names for simply wearing the uniform. 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. 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 … Here it is the WAR SUPPORTERS who are spitting on the pro-peace veterans. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. 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. This is a somewhat more serious subreddit compared to many others. The only contemporary accounts we have of spitting was during the Republican convention in 1972. Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. I think if some people tried that now, they would be attacked. Vietnam veterans were often unwelcome at Veterans Day parades. 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. Most soldiers drafted after 1968 were antiwar even before they went … 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. Very rarely. 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. 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. What did they say? They took a bus from the base for protection as the Dept. In 1998 sociologist and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke published "The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam." Print. This list is way out of date. But Lembcke's most controversial conclusion is that posttraumatic stress disorder was as much a political creation—a means of … The first reported instance of spitting occurs during an International Day of Protest featuring "Veterans for Peace in Vietnam." 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. (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 … ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. 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. 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. U.S. Army. Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. 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. 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. 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