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. Thanks! Vietnam vets were raised in a society that honored veterans. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. (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 … 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. Print. 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. Is it all just an urban myth? My father and my uncles were veterans who were spit on and called names for simply wearing the uniform. During the Vietnam War, Australian army and navy men were told to not wear their uniforms when on leave back home. 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. A soldier, fresh from Vietnam duty, wearing his uniform, gets off the plane at an American airport, where he is spat upon by "hippies." Would you start a physical confrontation with a trained killer who you believe is also a war criminal? 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. 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. The Vietnam Memorial. They were voicing their opinions. Continue Reading Below. 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. It is a myth that returning Vietnam vets were spat upon by antiwar activists when they returned from the war. of the Navy did not want sailors walking through the throng. Do you have relatives who are veterans? Web. My son right now is in the Navy and I am so happy at the way people treat him. In short, your friend's claim that veterans' mistreatment is a "myth" is misleading at best. 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. He has pictures of the protests and a medical note about having to get stitches from getting hit with a rock by protesters. The stories were usually very specific. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. Follow up question: what is the origin for stories of returning Vietnam vets being spit on? Another speaker noted, "For a long time we were forgotten. 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. 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. Some, like Wowwk, say they had invectives hurled their way; others, like naval officer … ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. 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. Whether or not this was the case, they all believed it. 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 is how most of us saw this. 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. 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, More posts from the AskHistorians community. What have you guys heard? New York Times 7 May 1985: n. pag. Press J to jump to the feed. Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans … "NEW YORK PAYS HOMAGE TO VIETNAM VETERANS." Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. Franklin, Ben A. Most soldiers drafted after 1968 were antiwar even before they went … The only contemporary accounts we have of spitting was during the Republican convention in 1972. "Choice" -- people were drafted, it wasn't always a choice. It all depends on where you are and the time period. Gross, Jane. 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 … This is a somewhat more serious subreddit compared to many others. 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. 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. There is not a single corroborating news report from that time of any solider being spat upon. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. 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.