Memorial Day

Who Do You Remember on Memorial Day?

It is natural to first remember those who are closest to us. Many of us have been personally touched by war. But we must also extend that mourning. We must remember the combat veterans, civilian victims, and their families, who are all equally human beings. Honoring and remembering some deaths while ignoring others not only perpetuates war, but also ignores the moral injuries of war, which some now recognize as a significant cause of veteran suicide. This Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace is reminding the public that the human cost of war is more than human soldiers, but also the people who are caught in the crossfire.

Each year, members of Veterans For Peace participate in a wide range of activities in cities and towns all across the nation to observe Memorial Day.


 

A Request from VFP's Vietnam Full Disclosure:

America wants YOU to write a letter today to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) for delivery on Memorial Day. Over the past five years we have solicited letters from folks just like you to deliver to The Wall on Memorial Day. Now it's your turn. Do you remember the American War in Vietnam? I mean really remember it -- from deep in your bones. Because you actually lived through it. Perhaps as a soldier, perhaps as a conscientious objector, perhaps as a youngster caught up in your family's pain and anguish, perhaps as a dedicated street protestor, or perhaps as a friend or a lover of a soldier. Perhaps as an orphan or a grandchild who never met her grandfather. Perhaps as a citizen of Vietnam or Cambodia or Thailand. I am sure I am missing other important scenarios, but you get the picture. That war is an indelible part of your psyche, like it or not.

We in Veterans For Peace's "Vietnam Full Disclosure" project are concerned that your voice is not being heard. By whom, you might ask. Answer: by those too young to have witnessed the scourge of this war who think they can learn "the truth" from the Pentagon's revisionist history. And that re-writing of our lives is what is going on right now as we are being more and more inundated by so-called "fifty year commemorations." We in VFP have dedicated a fair amount of time in resisting the game plan of our government to mythologize the war and, subsequently, to justify it and, eventually, to use it as a backdrop for future wars.

Over the past five years we have delivered hundreds of letters so far, and we are looking for yours to deliver this Memorial Day. Here's how we do it -- we collect the letters, we place them in business sized envelopes with the tops slit open, we write "Please Read Me" on the outside of the envelopes, and then at 10:30am on Memorial Day we walk down The Wall from both sides, placing the letters at the foot of The Wall ( if a soldier's name is referenced in a letter, we leave that letter at the foot of the panel where his or her name appears).

So what? Well, these past five years we have watched visitors to The Wall on Memorial Day pick up these letters and hug and cry and look more deeply into the black granite before them. And we also watch the National Parks Service as they collect the letters to put into the national archives for future displays. Oh, and by the way, we are also publishing letters —— we have published two books of letters so far. After this year, we will publish a third. Our voices are being heard. Please join us.

Here's how. If you are moved to write a letter, you can email it to rawlings@maine.edu before May 21st. It's that simple. Members from VFP will then print out your letter, place it in an envelope, and deliver your letter as you have written it to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. If you want to join us for this ceremony, please let me know.

Please note that we consider The Wall to be something akin to "sacred ground," so we do not perform political actions there; we will treat your words with the respect they deserve. You may sign your letter with your full name, or not. Up to you.. Also note that by sending us your letter you are giving us permission to do three things -- possibly publish your letter to our website (vietnamfulldisclosure.org); publicly display your words at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, 2020; and, possibly, include your letter in the next edition of our LETTERS TO THE WALL collection.

We encourage you to visit our website at vietnamfulldisclosure.org to see what we are about and to sign our pledge to tell the truth about the American War in Vietnam; we encourage you to purchase our books, read them, and then give them to a local school library to help their students enrich their research on the war; but, most importantly, we encourage you to write your letter. We need to hear from you. America needs to hear from you.

Thanks, Doug Rawlings
on behalf of the Vietnam Full Disclosure group

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