The Historic Vietnam Veterans Protest in Washington: Lessons for Today


Apr 23, 2021 - 3:00pm (e), 2:00pm (c), 1:00pm (m), 12:00pm (p)
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Many veterans came home from Vietnam with a mission: to tell the truth about the wartime atrocities being committed and demand an immediate end to the killing. In April 1971, a group of more than 1,000 veterans launched the Dewey Canyon III operation, a “limited incursion into the land of Congress.” They camped on the Washington Mall, won a legal battle to stay without a permit, and brought their antiwar message forcefully to the national government and the media. The week of action culminated in a dramatic scene, as veterans threw their military medals over a fence at the Capitol.

April 23 marks the 50th anniversary of that ceremony, described by observers at the time and historians since as one of the most influential anti-war actions of the era. It was the occasion when a young Lieutenant John Kerry gave historic testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A moment of turning, as Kerry said and historian Andrew Hunt wrote, when public opinion turned more decisively against the war.

Now, 50 years later, what lessons can we learn from this historic protest? How can the issues that motivated an earlier generation speak to veterans and soldiers today? Join us for a panel discussion highlighting the voices of veterans past and present. Featuring key archival footage and scholarly analysis, this conversation will show how issues of peace and justice raised a half-century ago remain timely and relevant today.

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This discussion is presented by the Keough School of Global Affairs and its Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and is co-sponsored by Veterans For Peace and the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee.


Leave No One Behind Mural Project

The Leave No One Behind Mural Project is embarked by a coalition of veteran support groups, immigrant organizations, and academics. Through a multi-sited public art project entitled "Leave No One Behind," the coalition urges the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to enact immigration policy to repatriate Deported Veterans, protect Childhood Arrivals, end family separation, and reunite families.

Through a multi-sited public art project, the project seeks to uplift the stories of Deported Veterans, Dreamers, childhood arrivals, and permanent residents.

Installation sites will be prioritized to the cities in which community storytellers lived while in the U.S. For many, this is the place where they were raised, grew exclusive roots to the country and where their immediate family lives.

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Members In Action

"In 1962 a group of San Francisco veterans of World War II and Korea - knowing the Viet Nam war was looming - marched unofficially at the end of the annual Veterans Day Parade under the banner of "Veterans For Peace." The principal organizer was world-renowned poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti who died on February 22nd at 101 years old in his home in North Beach, the literary heart of San Francisco."

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Check out other highlights about VFP Members!

Source: National Priorities Project