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Friday, November 4, 2011

Disrespect of Men Coming Home From Vietnam

There has been a misconception over the years that all hippies hated the troops in Vietnam and the men who returned from the war. This is far from true. However, there is no denying that there were some who took the desires of the anti-war movement, the message of peace, and turned it into a reason to verbally and physically assault men in uniform in airports, on the street, etc. In my opinion, it was one of the blackest stains on the movement. One of my fears as I have supported anti-war protests in my own generation is that this disgusting trend would be repeated. The worst part of all is that it wasn't just a few ignorant youngsters that were guilty of mistreating the vets from Vietnam. The government, their families, and those who had supported the war seemed to want to sweep these warriors under the rug when the war ended, treating them like bad reminders of a hard time. It has long been my opinion that the brave men and women involved in the Vietnam War got a raw fucking deal all the way around and that the only way it could be worse is if we ever allowed this to happen again to those who risked their lives and were fortunate enough to come back home. In this scene from Castles Made of Sand, Liz, Brian, Ross, and Julie go to the airport to pick up Liz's younger cousin Eric who was in Nam from Dec. 1965-Dec. 1967. It is his first trip to California and he comes in from Ohio wearing his uniform which causes a disturbance that leads to a spat between Liz, a girl, and airport security:

'On February eighth my beloved cousin arrived from Ohio and all of us turned up to get him. That was the day that my eyes were opened to a new and disgustingly disrespectful trend that had begun around the country. Eric came off the plane in uniform, no doubt showing off for his two favorite girls, and I heard a girl shout, “Baby killer!”
     I spun around, intent on attack. Three soldiers walked beside of Eric and they were all chatting as they came towards us. I hoped he hadn’t heard the words. Just as the guys reached us, the girl shouted the words again and then she came up to one of the guys at Eric’s side and she actually spit on him. That was it. I rushed at the girl while security rushed at me. I didn’t give a damn. I yanked the little bitch by her hair and shouted, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You want to shout at someone, you little cunt, go to Washington! Take the fight where it belongs and leave these men the hell alone!”
     I released her hard as a guard grabbed me and I was satisfied to hear her head make contact with the marble floor. “Calm down, Miss, or I’ll have to call the cops. Just calm down.” The guard said softly as he held my arms.
     “I’m as calm as I am going to get so please get the hell off of me!” I shouted.
     Brian had come over and he was talking to the guard, explaining why we were at the airport and what the girl had said. The guard let me go but then he said something that almost landed me in cuffs. He looked at the girl with disdain and proclaimed, “That’s the way these damned hippie scum are, man! Commie scum! They talk to war heroes like shit and what do they do? Shoot up heroin and go around fucking everything, fucking with the morality of this nation. Fuck them!”
     “Do you have eyes?” I questioned. Brian was already pulling me away but I wasn’t having it. I had had enough. “Are you really going to look at me and talk about hippies? I write for the largest hippie paper in the nation, asshole! Before you talk shit about all of us, think about this. Not all security guards are ignorant pricks just because you are. Same thing goes with us, pal!”'
Now, there is debate even today about whether or not there was in fact mistreatment of soldiers coming home. My own personal opinion on it is that guys were probably mistreated, called names, and everything by people but those people were not actually part of the anti-war movement. They were fools who thought that they were apart of the scene without knowing what the hell the whole point was. However, whether they were or were not in the movement, I do not believe that the stories of mistreatment were made up but here is an article I found on and it does claim that this is an example of an urban myth (Again, this DOES NOT reflect my own opinion on the matter!!!!) :
Posted on Wed Nov 10 2004 18:35:05 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) by mykdsmom
WINSTON-SALEM -- Last week voters went to the polls to select a vision for the future. Now Americans must find a way forward together. This week, as we honor service and sacrifice on Veterans Day, an image from this political season must be put to rest.
The presidential campaign featured the resurgence of a myth from the early 1990s. That myth is that soldiers returning from Vietnam were spit upon by citizens or war protesters. That claim has been used to turn honest differences of opinion about the war into toxic indictments.
As a scholar of urban legends I am usually involved with accounts of vanishing hitchhikers and involuntary kidney donors. These stories are folklore that harmlessly reveals the public imagination. However, accounts of citizens spitting on returning soldiers -- any nation's soldiers -- are not harmless stories. These tales evoke an emotional firestorm.
I have studied urban legends for nearly 20 years and have been certified as an expert on the subject in the federal courts. Nonetheless, it dawned on me only recently that the spitting story was a rumor that has grown into an urban legend. I never wanted to believe the story but I was afraid to investigate it for fear that it could be true.
Why could I not identify this fiction sooner? The power of the story and the passion of its advocates offer a powerful alchemy of guilt and fear -- emotions not associated with clearheadedness.
Labeling the spitting story an urban legend does not mean that something of this sort did not happen to someone somewhere. You cannot prove the negative -- that something never happened. However, most accounts of spitting emerged in the mid-1980s only after a newspaper columnist asked his readers who were Vietnam vets if they had been spit upon after the war (an odd and leading question to ask a decade after the war's end). The framing of the question seemed to beg for an affirmative answer.
• • •
In 1998 sociologist and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke published "The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam." He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. That study shows only a handful (32) of instances were presented as in any way antagonistic to the soldiers. There were no instances of spitting on soldiers; what spitting was reported was done by citizens expressing displeasure with protesters.
Opinion polls of the time show no animosity between soldiers and opponents of the war. Only 3 percent of returning soldiers recounted any unfriendly experiences upon their return.
So records from that era offer no support for the spitting stories. Lembcke's research does show that similar spitting rumors arose in Germany after World War I and in France after its Indochina war. One of the persistent markers of urban legends is the re-emergence of certain themes across time and space.
There is also a common-sense method for debunking this urban legend. One frequent test is the story's plausibility: how likely is it that the incident could have happened as described? Do we really believe that a "dirty hippie" would spit upon a fit and trained soldier? If such a confrontation had occurred, would that combat-hardened soldier have just ignored the insult? Would there not be pictures, arrest reports, a trial record or a coroner's report after such an event? Years of research have produced no such records.
Lembcke underscores the enduring significance of the spitting story for this Veterans Day. He observes that as a society we are what we remember. The meaning of Vietnam and any other war is not static but is created through the stories we tell one another. To reinforce the principle that policy disagreements are not personal vendettas we must put this story to rest.
Our first step forward is to recognize that we are not a society that disrespects the sacrifices of our servicemembers. We should ignore anyone who tries to tell us otherwise. Whatever our aspirations for America, those hopes must begin with a clear awareness of who we are not.
(John Llewellyn is an associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University.)
And this was one of the comments attached:
To: mykdsmom; kdf1; AMERIKA; Lancey Howard; MudPuppy; SMEDLEYBUTLER; opbuzz; Snow Bunny; gitmogrunt; ...
The profanities that I am ready to expel are enormous.

Just who did this person speak to??

I was spit upon, I had people throw beer bottles at me from their cars, and I heard Baby Killer many times, and I graduated Parris Island in 1977...5 years after combat ended in Vietnam!

This woman needs to be Freeped and HOW!!
2 posted on Wed Nov 10 2004 18:38:22 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) by RaceBannon (Arab Media pulled out of Fallujah; Could we get the MSM to pull out of America??)

I have heard vets on television that have said that they feel the protests hurt the war by decreasing support and this may be true. I do not believe that there was only a very small percentage of vets that disagreed with protesters. I believe there were probably quite a few. However, relations were not completely strained between the two and in fact many men who came home from the war joined the anti-war movement. But whether they agreed with the movement or whether they were adamant in their disagreement, these men and women who suffered and were not honored as the warriors from battles past in America had been deserve our utmost respect and a huge apology from anyone who ever refused to give it!

 At the end of the day, it is always important to remember...We're not against the soldiers, we're against the war!

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