“This is my memory of meeting anti-war POW Col. Edison W. Miller.
On October 20th, 1977 as I waited for a press conference before returning to the US, Gloria Emerson and Cora Weiss introduced me to Col. Edison W. Miller. They introduced Miller saying he had just flown into Buffalo that morning to attend the news conference and walk across the Peace Bridge with me. They introduced him as a former POW. I asked him why he was there and he told me he simply wanted to walk with me.
My memory of the press conference is hazy. I know he spoke and Cora, along with Gold Star Mothers for Amnesty spokesperson Patricia Simon and attorney Ramsey Clark. A short You Tube video is here:
Anyway we headed out across the Peace Bridge, about fifty vets, my father, co-defendants of the Buffalo Nine trail — the usual rag tag assortment of anti-warriors. I remember being afraid but feeling really amped up, adrenaline pumping and my brain as clear. About halfway across the bridge I found myself between General Clark and Col. Miller. Ed started telling me about the day he was shot down and bailed out. He had broken his back upon landing and was unable to do much. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by either PRG/NVA (?) soldiers, placed on a stretcher, and carried by two men. As time passed, he came to understand he was being carried up the Ho Chi Minh trail. They eventually reached Hanoi. He was interred for five years, made anti-war statements, and was released. Upon release, he was transported to Hawaii for a physical and debriefing by “military authorities”.
He’s telling me this story as we’re walking towards US Customs holding hands and I’m about to be arrested. He says that the amazing part about the whole story is that when he received his medical discharge, Naval surgeons told him the only reason he was able to walk was due to the medical treatment he received from the day he was captured. Furthermore doctors told him that had he been “rescued”, surgery would have been performed and recovery of full mobility would have been slim.”
Toward an honest commemoration of the American War in Vietnam
The Full Disclosure campaign is a Veterans For Peace effort to speak truth to power and keep alive the antiwar perspective on the American war in Viet Nam — which is now approaching a series of 50th anniversary events. It represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon’s current efforts to sanitize and mythologize the Vietnam war and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.
April 10 Army officials admit that Pvt. John Hoffman (one of the Fort Jackson 8 protest group) was an agent provocateur.
April 12 100 GIs join 1,200 civilians in an antiwar march in Austin, Texas.
April 14 Norton AFB – Airman First Class David Mays, who spoke at a GI – Civilian Demonstration in Los Angeles is charged with insubordination.
Fort Gordon – Editor of The Last Harass is given early release under less than honorable conditions to “prevent him from carrying on his antimilitary organizing in the reserves.”
April 19 Fort Sill – Pvt. Andy Stapp, founder of American Servicemen’s Union, is given a dishonorable discharge. See entries for June 1, July 31 and December 25, 1967.
April 23 Fort Dix – Sp/4 Allen Myers is acquitted on charge of having put up an antiwar sticker and distributed unauthorized material. See entry for March 28.
April 26 196th Light Infantry Brigade publicly refuse to follow patrol orders in the first reported mass mutiny incident in the war.
April 30 U.S. troop levels peak at 543,400. There have been 33,641 Americans killed up to this point in the war, more than in the Korean War.
2016 National Book Award Finalist, Viet Thanh Nguyen:
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory . . . . Memory is haunted, not just by ghostly others but by the horrors we have done, seen, and condoned, or by the unspeakable things from which we have profited.”