Comments about ‘Letter: Assertion that Vietnam vets were spit on has been challenged as a myth’

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Published: Sunday, April 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Yes, they were welcomed back as they should have been. The politicians that wanted to stop Communist aggression are a different matter, they wanted to get rid of the political system that is still in power and loand us money to get through the conservative economic collapse.

Utah Dem
Ogden, UT

I,too, have read that over the decades and wondered at times -Who did that? When did that ever happen? My brother was a Vietnam Vet and I don't ever remember him addressing that at all.

one old man
Ogden, UT

This is false. I personally saw several instances of this in Cleveland and Kent, Ohio. Some WERE spit upon. Young men who returned from the war and enrolled at Kent State University before the shooting there were treated terribly.

Some of that led to the infamous shooting by the National Guard at the university.

I was a national park ranger stationed in Washington, D.C. during the time of the shooting. What I witnessed there -- on both sides of the issue -- was totally disgusting.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I am sorry, but I am old enough to have lived through that period of time, and do remember seeing on the evening news scenes of disrespect toward those who returned home from service in Vietnam. Did it happen to all.... absolutely not. Did it happen to most, most likely not as we all know how the news usually over states circumstances.

But to claim it didn't happen, this is not only false, but is something akin to Nazi deniers. Not all germans were Nazi's, not did most accept their brutality. But that brutality did happen, and to deny it does not change history.

Likewise, there were many things that went very wrong - on all sides - during the Vietnam conflict. To pretend otherwise takes away from those who did act honorably during those times. What Jerry Lembcke motivation was when he wrote his book can only be anyones guess... but if he claims Vietnam vets were received home with honor by all is a great distortion of fact.

Rewriting history to match some unknown narrative or agenda is what should be being discussed.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

I haven't read the book, "by Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembckeso", so I'm not entirely sure what part of the fact that there were some Vietnam vets who were spit upon and called "Bay Killers" he considers a "myth".

But, having personally witnessed that very behavior, I can attest it is not **entirely** a myth.

Perhaps he is decrying as myth the idea that it was a common or wide-spread occurrence. Something which I can also personally attest was **not** the case. It was, however, more common and wide-spread than I've witnessed for returning vets of any other war. And, common and wide-spread enough that the nation was properly brought to some measure of shame that people who were only dutifully acting as citizen soldiers (when the military was not occupied by a "volunteer" force), often against their will and preference.

The bottom line to me is that **any** gratuitous and unthinking reaction like what Lembckeso describes as a "myth" and which I personally witnessed on at least one occasion, is unacceptable.

tigger
AMERICAN FORK, UT

Okay, so without any kind of prefacing, I just asked my husband, who enlisted and was in the second group that went into Viet Nam and eventually retired as a Col. after Desert Storm, if he was ever spit on. He said "no". He flew only into and out of military bases during Viet Nam and said that he experienced mobs of protesters throwing fruit and garbage at the buses necessitating wire mesh on the windows. I asked him if the protests and lack of respect and honor for his sacrifice bothered him. He replied "no"--he had seen enough, done enough, been through enough that those behaviors were pretty low on the list of concerns.

tigger
AMERICAN FORK, UT

(cont.) He also commented that soldiers are a tough bunch--not many people would be foolish enough to spit on or throw garbage at soldiers fresh from combat with out the safety of a bus between them and the soldiers. It's a hard hard job--physically, mentally and emotionally. Then as our conversation ended he quietly added, with a tone I rarely hear from him and the kind that breaks my heart---"but there was no welcome home or thank you".

He occasionally will comment that he tries to live his life worthy of those who didn't get to live. Didn't get to have families or see children grow up. Those on both sides of a battle field who sacrificed it all.

On a lighter note:
Hey, I was at USU in the early 70's and wondered what ever happened to Dayne. When I go back to USU I always tell my Aggie children about him and where he stood outside the Student Union Building.--Good to hear from you Dayne.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

When a joke didn't make any one laugh the punch line was; It' kinda like Vite Nome, you would of had to of been there.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

The facts are more acurately described as .00001 percent of Vietnam vets were spit upon and disrespected by .0000000000001 percent of the population when they returned home.

Don't make isolated instances into a mountain of molehill juice.

IndependentLiberal
Salt Lake City, UT

I am a Viet Nam Veteran, and I will state categorically that I was spit on in the San Diego Airport, and took a ton of verbal abuse right here in Salt Lake City, baby killer, war monger, etc. On the other hand some bus drivers would lt me ride free. Abuse became so prevalent that Admiral Zumwalt when he became chief of Naval Operations in 1970 allowed sailors to grow beards, and far more freedom to wear civilian clothes, so not to draw attention to ourselves.
When the USS Enterprise left on a Westpac cruise from San Francisco in the fall of 1972, the government had to close the Golden Gate Bridge to traffic as it was discussed by the anti-war demonstrators to dump garbage, loaves of bread, and worst yet, lead based paint balloons to foul the ships radar and communication systems.
If it happened to me, it happened to others!!

4601
Salt Lake City, UT

If you weren't in San Francisco during the late 60's you should not comment on this story. It happened and revisionist historians cannot gloss over the physical and emotional abuse heaped on veterans of the Viet Nam war. ".0000000000001" (1 in 10 to the 13th. There aren't that many people in the world.) is sheer blather.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

It happened despite what Jed Boal things. Was it rampant? Probably not. Was there examples where the troops were supported? Yes. But to say it didn't happen, not sure we can go there...

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Apologies to Jed Boal. Evidently, he wasn't the one perpetuating the myth about the myth.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"the old switcharoo" - I take it by your comments you were there... you served... or you lived in the 60s around bases?

I was in Berkley in the early to mid 60s.... not sure where you were, but we surely were not in the same place. I think it was KOMO that used to have frequent stories of service people on leave having issues in the area. Perhaps where ever you were, life was all puppy dogs and unicorns, but in the communities around military installations.... things were often quit different.

And like mentioned before... you may want to check your math there....

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