As a VFP member and website content provider, I have the honor and humble privilege to have correspondence with some incredible anti Vietnam activists who resisted the draft and war. I’m sharing a few historical items recently sent to me by Bruce Beyer, one of the Buffalo Nine. Because what we don’t know….can enlighten us and allow us to appreciate what others have done to honor and help out humanity.
From June 13, 2015:
“Hi, just found this…………….note Susan Schnall and Jack Colhoun. We never surrendered!” BB
Back page of Amex Canada magazine, 1976
“and then there’s this…”
Amex Canada, Susan Schnall
From June 2015:
“I remember passing this poem to my mother when she can to visit me at the Erie County Holding Center the day I came back to the States. Needless to say, I was greatly influenced by Ron Kovic.”
From May 25, 2015:
“So, I came across the attached article (Buffalo Draft Boards ) this morning. I am reminded that during the Buffalo Nine trial the US Attorney tried to introduced the newspaper article at my bail hearing in an attempt to convince the District Court Judge to deny me bail. He claimed this article showed how much I held governmental representatives in disdain.
The judge responded saying, “The only thing this shows me is that Mr. Beyer is opposed to death.” FYI I still find that to be a lofty goal.Kicking it down the road in your direction, Julie.”
From May 27, 2015:
“As to the leaflet from the Buffalo Draft Resistance Union: Julie you are welcome to publish anything I send to you if you think it’s relevant. Be warned though, I’m a paper hoarder. My Mom started me out on this endeavor and I have an entire file cabinet filled with paper relating to the Vietnam era (which I believe is still ongoing). I think one of the documents I laugh about is the one. My friend, who worked for many years as a paralegal, “liberated” it from the Federal District Court files when she somehow gained access to them years ago.”
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 being commemorated during this decade with a series of 50th anniversary events. Full Disclosure represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon’s current efforts to sanitize and mythologize that war, and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.
June – Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG)—see June 8, 1969 chronology entry-Foreign Minister, Nguyễn Thị Bình, travels to Algeria to garner international support for her revolutionary government and meets with President Boumediene and Foreign Minister Bouteflika. She then travels to China and meets with Zhou En-Lai in Beijing who prophesies a revolutionary victory for the Vietnamese revolutionaries.
John Kerry joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).
The Selective Service System (SSS) reports 271 instances of destructive attacks (bombing, arson, destruction of files) against draft boards in the previous 2 years.
June 3 – The NVA (PAVN or VPA) begin a new offensive toward Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The U.S. provides air strikes to prevent the defeat of Lon Nol’s inexperienced troops.
June 5 – President Nixon meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, CIA Director Richard Helms, and the heads of the NSA and DIA to discuss a proposed new domestic intelligence system. White House aide Tom Charles Huston has prepared his presentation. The plan is based on the assumption that “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans—mostly under 30—are determined to destroy our society.” Nixon calls on the agencies to prove the assumed connections between the antiwar demonstrators and Communists. Nixon is convinced that both the FBI and the CIA have failed to find the links he is sure bind domestic troubles and foreign Communism.
June 12-16 – Battle of Kompong Speu: the combined forces of the South Vietnamese and Cambodian Armies fought to recapture the provincial capital of Kompong Speu. The town was captured by revolutionary forces on June 13 but was retaken by allied forces on June 16.
June 13 – President Nixon establishes the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest. The commission is directed to study the dissent, disorder, and violence breaking out on college and university campuses.
June 19-21 – The National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC) is set up by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) with the support of the Student Mobilization Committee with a single-issue focus embodied in the antiwar slogan “Out Now!” This is an alternative to the New Mobilization Against the War in Vietnam (new Mobe). See chronology entry for July 1969.
June 24 – The U.S. Senate repeals the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. See chronology entries for August 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 1964.
June 26-27 – On June 26 The New York Times finally published the list of POWs that the DRV had provided for the Committee of Liaison on April 6. The next day the Pentagon describes the list as unofficial and “inaccurate and incomplete.”
Six antiwar GIs at Fort Lewis, Washington publicly refuse to be sent to Vietnam, possibly the largest action to date at any Army Shipment Center on grounds of conscientious objection, and become known as the “Fort Lewis Six.”
June 27-28 – The New Mobe Strategy Action Conference, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, aims at building a multi-issue organization in contrast to the single-issue focus of NPAC. A follow-up conference is to be held from September.
June 29 – Private Willie Williams at Fort Lewis, Washington court-martialed for presenting an antiwar statement and poster to his commanding officer.
June 30 – U.S. troops withdraw from Cambodia. Over 350 Americans died during the invasion. General Abrams claimed 11,000 enemy soldiers killed and 2,500 captured, but his figures were disputed, as including civilian deaths. The ARVN troops remain, occupying heavily populated areas and supported by continued heavy U.S. air bombings. During this time, popular support for the Khmer Rouge broadens, its ranks swelling from 3,000 in March 1970 to a peak of about 30,000.
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.”