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View Diary: "They Should Have Shot Them All" -- Kent State Aftermath (199 comments)

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  •  It was more than a gender gap (4+ / 0-)
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    peraspera, ama, Dvalkure, nonnie9999

    Or a generational gap. Many of us had loved ones in Vietnam at the time and we felt torn apart by the war protests. You have to remember that there were anti-war protesters who actually spit on the troops in those days and booed them when they returned home. And it wasn't as though most of the young soldiers had a choice to serve. They were drafted! So you had this incredible anger and animosity from people who had served honorably in prior wars, or who had children, or children of friends, or brothers, husbands, etc. serving in Vietnam. Some still believed that if the President thought the war was necessary that meant that you did your duty. Others didn't believe in the war but naturally supported those they knew and loved who were fighting. There were no little magnetic ribbons in those days saying "Support the Troops". The treatment of returning vets by many anti-war activists was truly shameful and, unfortunately, that behavior hurt their cause with people who  otherwise probably would have been supportive of the peace movement.
    Just trying to provide some perspective as to what I think triggered so many of the hateful remarks.

    •  Duh. Didn't mean gender gap. (7+ / 0-)

      GENERATION gap.  Ah well.  If it's the worst mistake I make all day, it's not a bad day.

      I think that thing about spitting on the returning soldiers, and so on, is a bit of an urban myth.  I was against the war, in an active way.  And the reason I was is because of what guys I knew told me about it when they came home.  Boyfriend in VVAW, and so on.  Don't forget that Country Joe (Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag) was a Vietnam vet himself.

      But you're right that WWII veterans (like my dad) didn't take the anti-war movement very well.  But, even so, the family took the prudent move of sending my brother to college in Canada.

    •  spitting on soldiers (12+ / 0-)

      Boy, I wish I had some real documentation of this having happened. I hear people now saying it happened to them but, funny thing, I never heard much about it until the early 80s when the Reagan Revolution was on the rise and the demonization of the 60s hippie counterculture began in earnest.

      I'm not saying it didn't happen but I think if it did, it was much less than is implied these days. I remember a number of returning soldiers coming to campus and joining with us in demonstrations and, aside from people asking some inappropriate questions guided from curiosity and ignorance, I don't remember a tremendous amount of disrespect. Kids were pretty aware of the fact that plenty of soldiers were draftees who didn't want to be there.

      As I say, it may have happened but sometimes I think this is just more of the right-wing noise machine trying to convince us of how bad we all were back then and why we deserved to be shot down.

      (Not that you are trying to do that, grayslady. Your comment elicited this response from me but I'm not questioning your motives.)

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:45:18 PM PDT

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      •  As a returning Navy airman (14+ / 0-)

        I can say that I encountered no hostility from my peers in the hippie area of Houston: Montrose.  They had questions, but they also knew I was rabidly anti-war, so maybe I just missed the hate.  Still, I saw a lot of military and ex-military, and while people in uniform sometimes got loud questions, no one was spit on.  Almost everyone realized that, then as now, the soldiers were just regular people trying to do as they were told.

        But I have to wonder about Kent State.  How could an American aim a loaded gun at an unarmed American of any age and think, "I'll shoot them!  This is a good thing!"  I just don't get it.

        Col. Andy Tanner: "All that hate is gonna burn you up kid."
        Robert Morris: "It keeps me warm."

        by Wolverines on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:51:10 PM PDT

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    •  I had close friends on both (7+ / 0-)

      . . . sides of the Vietnam divide. They too often said hateful, hurtful things to and about each other. I tried to play peacemaker but the chasm was often too deep and wide to bridge completely. It was heartbreaking to see families and lifelong friendships ripped to shreds by such a cynical, senseless war.

      Some people did treat returning vets disrespectfully but neither side has any business throwing stones. Ask a few Vietnam vets about how wonderfully some of their fellow veterans of other wars treated them. I know several vets whose own WWII veteran fathers berated them for fighting a losing war.

    •  I had been in the US Army at the time. (8+ / 0-)
      Although I didn't serve any time in Vietnam, I was in Southeast Asia at the time and my plane stopped in Saigon on the way back to the states. When we got to Oakland Army Transfer Base and left the plane to walk through the airport, there weren't any protesters at all. No spitting or nothing. There weren't any flag wavers either. Plenty of US military came back home without any welcome or comment upon our return. It was just another lonely flight for me back to my home in the Northeast US. Nobody was spitting or waving flags there either. I just wound up wondering what all the fuss and news reports were about until I had time to adjust to being home.

      There were plenty of anti- war feelings among the troops at the time and many of those veterans became protesters after their Vietnam   experience. John Kerry, for instance.    

      The lunatics are destroying the asylum. (-6.25,-5.13)

      by Skylor on Wed May 24, 2006 at 10:16:25 PM PDT

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