This space is dedicated to sharing your stories.
The personal story of the individual Veteran For Peace is the most powerful tool we have to educate others on the reality of war. Its 'brutality, futility and stupidity' in the words of President Eisenhower.
Please share the story of why you became a member of Veterans For Peace. Statements will be archived on this page along with photos and introductory highlights.
It was summer on Okinawa, 1959. I was a young Marine LCpl, on radio watch. The duty NCO, a Chief MSgt named McNamara dropped in to check my post and have a cup of coffee. It was cool in the radio shack so the sergeant stayed a while. We talked. Not very far from us was a ship. On that ship was a group of Marines dubbed the "floating battalion." I asked the sergeant how it might be to volunteer for the battalion. After a long silence he began to tell me his story. Volunteered for WWII. Mustered out, then called back after several years to serve in Korea. Whatever happened in Korea seemed to have changed him. I don't know. I do know he left me with the impression that serving in the Marines was not about serving your country--or its people. It was about serving the interests of a few very rich, very powerful people. I've been anti-war since Vietnam; it was Sgt. McNamara who made me a Veteran For Peace, and probably saved my life.
"Semper fidelis," Sgt. McNamara, "wherever you are."
I was a paratrooper in the Army from 1984-87. I became a member of Veterans For Peace because everytime I would go to a peace rally in Nashville, I would see guys holding signs with the VFP logo and got curious. I have been opposed to war since the first Gulf War. VFP is a unique organization because it utilizes the veterans special voice on the most important issue confronting our society, that of peace.
I joined the Navy following law school graduation in 1962 for four years. I extended for an additional year following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The President lied. He also stated that our mission was to bring peace, though it was "peace" at the end of a rifle. My five years in the Navy were learning years. I learned to value human life more than luxurious lifestyle. I learned Presidents and politicians may have different values &have put men in harms way to protect oil & lifestyle.Thousands of our men were killed.
Since then, I have learned that peace is not fear, and peace at the end of the rifle is not peace. When our foreign policy equates military firepower to terrorize until submission, we end up as the victims of hatred and fear. It was exciting to hear a Presidential candidate state he would go anywhere to meet face to face with anyone to negotiate peace. Drones went instead to terrorize. I want peace through diplomacy and cooperation. May God protect us from ourselves.
I am a Navy Veteran having served during Vietnam. I marched with Vets for Peace back in the early 70's when we marched with the Vietnam Vets Against the war in DC, as well as numerous local marches. I am the son of WWII Combat infantryman who was shot 3 times, once in the head-100% disabled. I worked for the Veteran Affairs counseling, adjudicating claims. I was fortunate. I was not in combat, but I have experience war from every other angle. War seriously injures veterans physically and mentally, and scars the wife and children of veterans. My father had TBI, though we didn't call it that. Watch him sleep and be quiet were the rules in my home as a child. The impact of the war on vets and family is illustrated by two comments of WWII veterans and my mother. Three days before my father died and 48 years after injury, he awakes in the hospital and asks, "I am not in the war, am I?". The second comment, my neighbor, 68 years after the war "I am still not right". My mother, when her and dad talked about the war, "you ate dirt while I ate shit caring for our two boys and worrying about you".
Ramon Nacanaynay, VFP Chapter 134 in Tacoma, WA
After serving from 1986-90 in the USAF as a radio maint. tech for Combat Control at McChord AFB, WA I got out, used my G.I. bill to become a nursing asst., then an Early Childhood Educator. I was
My brother, Jimmy Wilcox, served in Vietnam while I worked here to end
Thank you for giving me the chance to tell my story.
I am a War Resister. In 2006 I went AWOL to Canada after realizing I was about to participate in business as usual for this country - occupation, re-education, redistribution of resources back to our shores.
After turning myself in in 2009, I moved to the DC Chapter House of IVAW, where I spent the next year. After that, I went back home to Florida in an attempt to try and reconnect with family after being away for so long, and a general desire to "be normal" again. This, of
When Occupy started, I saw something separate from the corporatized protests I'd witnessed after I became a radical. I saw a chance to finally exercise my oath in an honest way, and so I became a part of Occupy Tampa in November 2011.
I'm still here, and was present during the RNC. I chose to represent VFP at this time, and will continue to do so indefinitely.
Patrick Eddington, 016 - Washington, DC
My war was Desert Storm, though unlike many of my contemporaries I
I resigned in protest from the CIA in 1996 and subsequently wrote two
Daniel (Dan) Shea
I joined VFP because after I joined the USMC March 1968, I had witnessed corruption of black-marketeers, the vicious cruelty of one Drill Instructors and the lies we were told and was never comfortable with the racist language demonizing the Vietnamese. August 1968 I arrived in Da Nang Vietnam with incoming mortar attack within minutes of stepping off the plane, the reality of the war impressed upon me my mortality and the meaning of life. I became a post war victim of Agent Orange, my son Casey was born with birth anomalies one being a heart disease that eventually took his life after a surgery in 1981. These events all became many points of awareness that began to penetrate my consciousness and eventually led me to the work of Veterans For Peace. I saw a need for veterans to raise our voices in unison to help bring awareness and courage to the slumbering masses that had let their collective powers slip from their fingers to the military industrial complex and corporate profiteers.
Gregory Helle, 163 - Des Moines, IA
As an 18 year old farm boy, I found myself half way around the world in a war that I did not understand. After two years at war, I found myself living in fear and even after 43 years I still see the war
Evan Knappenberger, Startup chapter in Charlottesville, VA
I joined the army in 2003 at the age of seventeen. I was an Ayn Rand
Robert Whealey, Central/Southern OH Chapter 923
I became an intellectual pacifist in the US Army in Germany in 1955 at age 25. This was followed by a Ph.D in diplomatic history and teaching international relations for 40 years. About 1983 I went to a SANE meeting in Cleveland, Ohio and met an ex-sergeant selling VFP hats. I became an at large member with two others from Athens, Ohio. The three of us went to national meetings in Pittsburgh, Pa and Harrisburgh, Pa. My Colleague Charles Overby went to two or three other national meetings. The two of us joined the Circleville, Ohio chapter 4 or 5 years ago.
Ken Barger, Indianapolis Chapter 049
I went to Vietnam to fight for Freedom and Democracy. In one operation, I looked down from a helicopter and saw two Viet Cong. I looked at where they had disappeared, and as far as I could see there was only death and destruction. I thought, "You know if I was a Vietnamese peasant I'd be out with the Viet Cong fighting the Americans." What the hell had I just thought? I decided that this war had nothing to do with Freedom and Democracy, and that we were killing people and destroying the homeland of people defending themselves from invaders... just like we would do. But it took me years to come to recognize what fighting in a war had done to me. "War is hell" is not about the threat of death... it's about the kind of person I became in war. Having learned the worst I could be as a human being, I decided that now I wanted to work for an America that lives up to our ideals, a people who not only turn away from policies of war but who truly promote peace and justice in the world.
Andy Berman, Minneapolis Chapter 027
1969, yet another Vietnam demonstration. We had been marching for many years. This action at Fort Dix, NJ was a bit more daring than usual. The plan was to get on base and bring our anti-war message to the soldiers.We really didn’t expect 100 of us to go unopposed onto the base! But we did! Very quickly there came straight towards us a platoon of MPs wearing teargas masks. Without warning they sprayed noxious gas directly on us. We tried wet cloths with vinegar, but we got soaked by the gas. Choking and blind, we scattered back off the base. The shattering psychological effects of the gas were even stronger than the physical ones. Clarity came. There wasn’t any more doubt in my mind. The best thing I could do to end the damn war was to bring antiwar politics into the military. Soon after I enlisted. For 3 years I walked a bit of a tightrope as a “RITA” (resister in the army). The photo is a march of GIs with an anti-war anti-racism message outside Fort Bragg in 1971.
Bill Duroe, Greater Seattle Chapter 092
As Obama's"clay feet" approached his neck, I admitted that the conventional liberal Democratic Party was hopeless as a vehicle for necessary progressive moral change. As mistaken as the VN War was, I strongly identify with the "poor bastards" like me who were sent to further our Imperial delusions. We know how false our government can be! Shortly after I joined VFP 92, my nephew's Chicago home was raided to intimidate dissenters. That strengthened my conviction that our nation's best hope was direct citizen action. Bill Duroe RVN 1966-68
Jim Thomas, VFP Chapter 097
When George W. Bush then president started the macho BS (draft dodging sob fighter pilot ) i decided that if I went to viet nam (volunteered for the navy 2year reserve } I should join veterans for peace..
Bob Cable, Smedley Butler Chapter 009
Erik Lobo, Cpl. Joseph E. Powers Chapter 026,
I went to Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas in August, 2005. That's where I first heard of Veterans For Peace. When I went back to Camp Casey at Thanksgiving of '05, we formed the Camp Casey chapter of VFP, and unanimously elected Col. Ann Wright as our president. I then went home to Chicago and joined chapter #26. So my close friend Cindy Sheehan caused me to find VFP-- Stay strong and keep smiling ---- Lobo
Jon Hutchinson, Member @ Large,
VFP for many years has provided a consistent program of working for peace by fighting openly against the endless unwinnable wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In America we need such a voice to encourage veterans, their families and all of us to know thst peace will come if we are willing to act and speak out. This, the VFP, is a such a voice . Thank you
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