Jerry Davich who writes for the Post-Tribune a Chicago Sun Times Publication adds support to my theory that Vietnam Vets were not spit on when they returned. For a decade, as one person was shipped off to fight, another was returning. Bleachers erected on the east side of the street on Central Park West. Back in the States, Langenus quickly discovered the GI benefits available for Vietnam veterans “were almost nonexistent.” While living in New York, he developed symptoms of malaria—a tropical disease fairly uncommon in the concrete jungle—yet he was denied VA health care because he didn’t display those symptoms in Vietnam. In 1982 Vietnam veterans march down Constitution Avenue toward the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which would be dedicated later that day. It's mentioned in the movie First Blood ("Rambo"): Then I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport protesting me, spitting. Many vets will tell you it happened, and others will tell you that they never saw anything close to it. Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam is a book of selected correspondence published in 1989. “At a time when I was paying $300 a credit, my entire educational benefit was $126.” And when it came to finding a job, he was met with thinly veiled disgust and discrimination from law firms upon learning he was a Vietnam infantry veteran. Peter Langenus, today the Commander of VFW Post 653 in New Canaan, Connecticut, commanded Delta Company, 3rd Battalion/7th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade from 1969-70. (Protester'sBill and Hillary actively involved with). The idea that Vietnam veterans in the United States were spat on when they returned seems to have taken hold. “I appreciate the respect of ‘thank you’ because that was something I never received when I came home. The grunts are restless. “The Vietnam veterans, we couldn’t believe it. He was honorably discharged in 1968. My dad's a Vietnam War Vet and he told me that all the troops he was with were spat on. Spitting stories, while true, aren't the point. addition, Veterans' Day on 11 November 1979, was dedicated to the Vietnam vets came home from that hell step off a plane so happy to be home and were pelted with garbage spit on called baby killers. The only ones who didn't turn were the one in wheel chairs and none of the lifers remembered to turn their wheel chairs. In fact, the description shows that the disapproval is directed only at that group of Veterans, and includes not only one spitting loonie, but the flag waver and many uniformed veterans (disparagingly called ‘lifers’ by the storyteller). “The collective emotion of the country was divided,” says Jerry Lembke, a Vietnam veteran, sociologist and author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. presented him as readjusting quite well to civilian life. In his book The Spitting Image Jerry Lembcke claims that it's a myth and never happened, or at least not in any confirmed incident. On 3/29/2019 4:01 PM, Byker wrote: I did not experience that. Then she spits again. It’s better than nothing. "26 Similar parades He does not recall personally experiencing or witnessing another veteran being spit on or called a baby killer, but Bob has no doubt that such incidents occurred and such hostility was "the way Vietnam veterans were treated." We could not understand getting letters from school kids,” says Langenus, also a veteran of Desert Storm. 2020 Stack Exchange, Inc. user contributions under cc by-sa. Journal of American Studies, Vol. Dean and Lembcke are in agreement that soldiers received a warm welcome. https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/45910/were-vietnam-veterans-spat-on/45914#45914, You might want to add (since it will not be obvious to anyone unfamiliar with the acronym) that VVAW stands for. For some reason the Vietnam Vets like to tell all who will listen they were spit upon. I came home twice from over seas between 1969 and 1975 and not one person spit on me. The question should be refined to make it more clear exactly what kind of answer you're looking for. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! A private group had to push hard for it. Such a narrative demanded national political response, and Dean continues: [A] national obsession to "welcome home" the Vietvet Protestors demonstrate for full benefits for all US veterans, including Vietnam War veterans in July, 1974. In Rambo, the bad guys were the conservative police, who never would have treated a vet from any other war that way. Bill Ray/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images, The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. All Rights Reserved. But looking out the window and seeing civilians stop to watch the small convoy of hospital-bound vehicles, his excitement turned to confusion. Unless they've been me and been there and know what the hell they're yelling about! Drooling on the Vietnam Vets. I recall people were puzzled why we'd want one. But the other is how flag-waving Americans hated vets for losing. They didn’t want to be like those terrible Vietnam-era protesters, the ones who spit on returning troops. So, VVAW surges and flows into the parade, onto Broadway, north toward... Then we saw the first spitter. Dean links the idea of the forgotten, unwanted veteran in need to larger national narratives in which the war itself was seen as unwanted. Who are they? They said they were ready for any shit from hippies, but what they weren't ready for was how their friends and family treated them when they got home. of the Monument to the Vietnam War Dead in Washington, D.C. Spitting never happened. My memory, refreshed by wikipedia, is that Congress had no interest, nor constituents. A review published in the Los Angeles Times reads: "The image is ingrained: A Vietnam veteran, arriving home from the war, gets off a plane only to be greeted by an angry mob of antiwar protesters yelling, 'Murderer!' these repeated welcomes and parades was that with each new one, some All of the official veterans groups have passed by, onto and up Broadway, and VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against War] has still not been allowed by the parade officials to turn up Broadway to join the parade. At Times Square there are more spitters and one older man chants while waving two flags, he chants and hoarsely, "Honor America, Honor America, Honor America". By BOB FEIST. And for the men who served in Vietnam and survived unspeakable horrors, coming home offered its own kind of trauma. "To be spat on" can very well mean they were treated poorly in general, which is well documented (and still often the case with veterans of other conflicts in both the US and other countries). For example, heroin use by soldiers was seen to indicate despair, although nearly all quit using heroin upon return to the US. I used to read the the website Daily Kos, and some years ago, a group of progressive Vietnam veterans took this meme on by daring anybody to document an example of returning vets being spit on (the vets had an advantage of being familiar with the military units of the time, thus they could challenge people as to which unit they served in, etc) He remembered serving in Vietnam … I remember how young they looked, and I think of how old these spitters with their fur coats look. Lembcke remembered things differently. 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