why did soldiers throw their medals away
It gave credence, they believed, to what A.J. As the memorabilia piled up and the media took it all in, it was clear that the antiwar movement had just turned a sharp corner. About 1,000 members of the loosely organized group; came to Washington last Mon day to tell the Government and the nation about what many of them said had been the most profoundly shocking experience of their lives — the Vietnam war. level 2 … He said that he had first wanted to give them back while still in Vietnam “when I found out that the ‘political force’ we were fighting was the people. She said she would divorce me if I came down here because she wanted my medals for our son to see when he grew up.". The first official service medal for soldiers of Imperial Germany who had taken part in the war was the Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918, established by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg. Collectively, his photographs speak of personal liberation. Ronald L. Ziegler, the White House press secretary, said there was no information to suggest violence. He continued to carry the coins throughout the war in his shirt pocket as good luck charms. "Yeah," he said, "do you want to see it?" Nobody question ed the authenticity of the am putees who frequently led the ragtag “search and destroy” mock marches in wheel chairs. "Apparently it was quite common for soldiers to throw their medals away at the time because they were so sickened by what they saw," he said. His medals had been left back in Waltham, Mass. He walked across his study to a secondary desk with clutter on top, mainly books, and opened the top right drawer. Ron Ferrizzi, for example, a Philadelphia native, disowned his Silver Star and Purple Heart against the pleas of his family. What we also learned from the release of his medical records is that Kerry still has shrapnel in his body from Vietnam. “It was three and a half years of wasted time,” he said. At a special Senate hearing today a succession of the pro testing veterans told an over flow audience in the new Sen‐, ate Office Building about what they said was the previously unreported side of the war. The vets told their names, their units, and many made statements against the war; then, angrily, they threw their war medals over the fence at the statue and at the Capitol Building itself. There was no way to take an accurate count of the au thentic veterans. The White House, meanwhile, set a tone of official forbear ance toward other antiwar demonstrators, expected to number 100,000 or more, who will gather tomorrow for the fourth mass protest here since Mr. Nixon took office. Veterans Discard Medals In War Protest at Capitol. For over two hours, men hurled their medals and ribbons over the fence toward a statue of John Marshall, the first chief justice of the United States. It is a tangible souvenir from Vietnam that is still with him every day. At one juncture during our interview session, he pointed above his desk to a frayed American flag tattered with bullet holes. Further confusing the issue was the fact that Kerry did lob the medals of two no-show veterans toward the Marshall statue at their request. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. After the crowd had returned to the campsite, to clean the area before breaking camp, one of the remaining veterans was asked what would become of the medals. Out of all the stories that have hounded Kerry on the campaign trail, the issue of whether he threw away his ribbons or his medals is the most mendacious. Another way of looking at this ‘fruit salad’ is that it's a resume or a CV - … He stood by them as they hurled medals back at the government. Butler captured the emotions of the afternoon with his camera. Those arrested were originally charged with the serious of fense of obstructing justice, but, at the request of the Jus tice Department, the charges were reduced to lesser ones of disorderly conduct. SALON Â® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of Salon.com, LLC. Angry GIs sought revenge on officers and men in their platoons or units. ", Not all the men gave up medals or ribbons. British war veterans have thrown away their medals outside Downing Street in protest against the Government's decision to bomb Syria and to bust the “mythology” of heroism connected to the military. So, as its closing salvo, VVAW, in a carefully planned action, had 800 veterans congregate near the Capitol's front steps. American Protest Against the War in Vietnam, 1963-1975," Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan detail how much internal sabotage was going on within the Navy. Still, the persistent resurrection of this issue means Kerry should have been more exact in his language back in 1971. Internatio… "We had just promised to be nonviolent and we were.". After glancing at them briefly we went back to our taped interview. ", Kerry spent much of his time that afternoon with two Gold Star moms, Ann Pine of Trenton, N.J., and Evelyn Carrasquillo of Miami. In 1971 alone, 488 cases were reported (191 sabotage, 135 arson, 162 wrongful destruction). A nickname for all the medals on an Americans chest is the ‘fruit salad’, as if someone took a bowl of fruit salad and threw it and some of it stuck to the chest. We were taught ‘Don't trust the kids, don't trust the old women, they'll kill you.’ It's the people's struggle against the aggressor, but we're the aggressor.”, Joseph H. Triglio, 25, a for mer Air Force sergeant who threw back a plaque he received as an honor graduate of his basic training school, shook his longish hair. "I did not admire the throwing of medals on the steps because I did not believe it was appropriate when so many brave men and women had sacrificed in order to get those same medals," former POW John McCain told me in 2003. Recent critics of Kerry assert that his Dewey County III ceremony is a metaphor for a lifetime of political flip-flopping. Why did he say on that show that he gave back medals when he was telling everybody else it was ribbons? But for 610,000 American soldiers of John M. Reis’ generation, the Battle of Bulge was a fight for their lives. Now their family and friends, their neighbors in their hometown, and even all of America was being told they hadn’t deserved it. That's not an easy thing to take. Watch The Epic Moment British Soldiers Throw Their Medals Realizing That War Is Organized Murder! William Carney was actually the first to come under the spotlight for his actions at Fort Wagner, South Carolina on 18 July 1863, but he received his Medal years after Blake did. Liebling of the New Yorker once claimed of Rough Rider Theodore Roosevelt: He was a "dilettante soldier but a first-class politician." The Boston Globe and other newspapers reported that Kerry was among these veterans. From Kerry's vantage point, there is nothing contradictory about his statement to "Viewpoints" that he had given back "six, seven, eight, nine medals." Many veterans were seen throwing their medals and ribbons over the fence in front of the U.S. Capitol. “We sure as hell don't want them any more.”. Many veterans were seen throwing their medals and ribbons over the fence in front of the U.S. Capitol. “It would not have served the purpose of cooling the coun try to have six minutes of film of television showing us ar resting veterans,” a White House official explained this morning. About 700 veterans discarded medals before about 500 spec tators. Stories of "fragging" also became widespread. Over the years some have asked why Kerry chose to dispose of his ribbons, not his medals. The men, who had won the medals in Vietnam were throwing them away. Throughout the week of Dewey Canyon III, the White House was worried sick about the medal-returning ceremony. U.S. Navy poster featuring Medal of Honor recipient Robert Blake. Three members of the 442nd, Barney Hajiro, James Okubo, and George Sakato were awarded the Medal of Honor for their participation on the rescue, although due to discrimination at the time, they did not receive their medals … Just days before Christmas in 2002, I interviewed Sen. John Kerry about his Vietnam combat experiences at his cluttered study high atop Boston's Beacon Hill. “To President Nixon, I send you greetings,” said one shaggy haired young Army veteran, as he tossed a handful of service ribbons over the fence to join the Purple Hearts, Silver Stars, discharge papers and commen dation medals piled there. "Do you still have the Silver Star," I asked Kerry. They heard Representative Robert F. Drinan, Democrat of Massachusetts and a Jesuit, call for a $50‐billion reparations fund to be paid over the next five years to “all peoples of Indochina.’, See the article in its original context from. First Kerry's testimony before the Fulbright committee, now this. As a World War II veteran played taps and about 500 people gathered around, the names of men who died in Vietnam were called out. Tonight thousands of long haired youths and their con servatively dressed elders joined more than 600 active duty servicemen in a memorial serv ice “for all Indochina war dead” at Washington Naval Cathe dral. About 700 veterans discarded medals before about 500 spec tators. We spoke about the harrowing day he saved the life of Jim Rassmann, a Green Beret who fell into a river amid a hail of mortar rounds. Within 20 years we were back on friendly terms with Vietnam, and all of the hysterics with their dire warnings about what would happen if Vietnam went communist were utterly wrong. But historian Tom Wells, in "The War Within," explains that Gen. Don Hughes, Nixon's chief military aide, found the idea repulsive. "There was so much buried pain," she recalled. Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. His medals were too clunky to wear on his Navy blues. The veterans who protested today had suffered some set backs. Associated Press articles: Copyright Â© 2016 The Associated Press. Anybody who heard, for instance, Paul F. Winters pray for forgiveness as he hurled his Silver Star, Distinguished Cross and Bronze Star over a fence and then watched him limp away was forever scarred by the memory. As Katherine Q. Seelye reported in the New York Times once the document was released, Hibbard went underground, unwilling to grant interviews, hiding from the press in his retirement home in Florida. Here is what happened on April 23, 1971, the day of the medal ceremony: First, Kerry had been in Washington for over a week organizing the Vietnam Veterans Against the War march on Washington. But the release of Kerry's war record put an end to the flap. For a World War II veteran, the tossing away of medals must have been a painful sight. Those folks were in their 60s, 70s and 80s by then; the humiliation was profoundly deep. The medals he threw … Over 35 years after the fact, Hibbard, a Republican, was trying to belittle, embarrass and malign Kerry. I still love my parents. At the 1972 Munich Games, the United States met the Soviet Union in the men’s basketball final. Representative Charles A. Vanik, Democrat of Ohio, was also present. Now the Army had a … Many were insulted by the prospect. Watching TV that evening was Rich McCann, who had traveled the Mekong Delta rivers with Kerry and was now a graduate student at George Washington University. For over two hours, men hurled their medals and ribbons over the fence toward a statue of John Marshall, the first chief justice of the United States. Meanwhile, the national com mander of the Veterans of For eign Wars, Herbert Rainwater, said that “nothing could be fur ther from the truth” than to suggest that the demonstrators typified Vietnam veterans, and some onlookers suggested that most of them were not even former servicemen. The three veterans then walked away from Downing Street leaving the oaths, berets and medals lying scattered on the floor. The bitterness and rage exhibited by these soldiers ripped at the nation's conscience. ... servicewomen and men tossing their medals back at Nato. But we should also remember that he earned those medals/ribbons. The Americans trailed the far more experienced Soviets by five points at halftime and by 10 points with less than 10 minutes remaining, but mounted a furious rally and took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws by Illinois State guard Doug Collins with three seconds remaining. Last week the media demanded to view Kerry's military records. "The truly impressive thing was that no acts of violence had been committed that entire week," Sen. Kerry recalled. ------------------------------------------. Douglas Brinkley is the director of the Eisenhower Center and a professor of history at the University of New Orleans; he is also the author of "The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House.". edited 1 year ago Many men who returned from WW1 threw away their medals as a sign of protest against the war and lives lost/ruined. In "Who Spoke Up? To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. As an antiwar action -- or a piece of street theater -- it was a powerful demonstration. Speed was its saving grace but that wasnt always an option in narrow, heavily mined canals. But it was more than that. Amazed at what people throw away. “It was a disservice to my country. Jack Smith of West Hartford, Conn., a Marine Corps veteran, read a statement explaining why men who earned Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars were now giving them back to the government. The boats loud engine invited ambushes. There was a sense these vets were regaining their humanity and forging a new morality in the course of facing agonizing truths, standing up, speaking out, … The hearing was described by an aide to Mr. McGovern as a “special ad hoc” hearing to let the veterans pre sent testimony. The reason for the urgency was that Grant W. Hibbard, a lieutenant commander during Kerry's swift boat days in Vietnam, asserted that Kerry's first Purple Heart was undeserved. Their hopes of camping on the east end of the Capitol Mall, in clear view of Congress, seemed thwarted by a Federal injunction, hastily ob tained by worried officials, that prohibited sleeping on the Gov ernment's property. "I chose my ribbons, which is what many of the veterans did." As far as I'm concerned, I'm now serving my country.”, After several hundred of the veterans had filed past the statue, depositing, along with the medals and citations a few uniform jackets, helmets and even a plastic submachine gun, Larry Rottman, a veterans' or ganizer from New Mexico, de clared the week's protest “now formally concluded.”. And on and on it … Others vented their spleens, which were bursting with defiance: "Here's a bunch of bullshit," one veteran shouted as he hurled a handful of medals. Thousands of Australian soldiers could lose their medals after a report claimed there was no longer 'sustained outstanding service' after a damning inquiry exposed a litany of alleged war crimes. But Kerry did not throw away his medals; he just pretended. But I never addressed this one issue with him directly.". Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) is an American tax-exempt non-profit organization and corporation founded in 1967 to oppose the United States policy and participation in the Vietnam War.VVAW says it is a national veterans' organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military … It was the one that had fluttered from PCF-94 over Kerry and his crew through the Viet Cong attacks they had survived together on the narrow waterways of South Vietnam in the first three months of 1969. “I guess somebody will sweep them up and throw them away, he said. It was hard to accept that I had given a year of my life for a lost cause. Dubbed true patriots, they followed the order to fight their country’s battles. Then we began firing phos phorous shells, incendiaries, and burned what was left to the ground.”. "They don't bring back good memories." When Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, for example, he wore his ribbons, not his medals. Clarity is usually a virtue in politics. But from these doubtful be ginnings grew an antiwar pro test that, judging by the recep tion this city ultimately gave it, had an impact far greater than its numbers. Then things got weird. Some showed their discharge papers to re porters and others rattled off serial numbers and military unit designations. A photograph taken by George Butler of VVAW shows that the offerings included recruitment letters, induction papers and discharge forms. Many chose to turn in hats, jackets and military documents. "I was grappling with a lot of issues myself. RT speaks to US veterans who feel betrayed by the system that pushed them into fighting America’s false-pretense wars, as the former soldiers throw out their medals which they deem symbols of lies. It often causes him discomfort. "The point of the exercise was to symbolically give something up," Kerry recalled in his defense. The first was on April 23, 1971, when Kerry and 800 other veterans tossed their medals over a fence in front of the Capitol. The actions of these brave men has been met with venom by the media. President Nixon and his advisors considered having a U.S. military representative accept the medals in front of the White House -- such a gesture would ensure there was no violence or wild TV images. The only difference between himself and First Lieut. Soldiers talk about what they saw and did in Iraq - Duration: 5:12. opencad Recommended for you. The players removed their medals as South Africa prepared to lift the trophy England were well beaten 32-12 in Yokohama,in a game watched by millions of fans in pubs around the country . TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. The Nixon administration feared widespread mutiny. To have said that he had given back ribbons but that his medals were at home would have simply confused the TV audience. Originally designed to ferry oil workers to ocean rigs, swift boats offered flimsy protection. The veterans heard their right to sleep on the Mall de fended in the Senate and the House, and the Nixon Adminis tration, which pursued the mat ter to the Supreme Court, where the order was upheld, finally backed down and allowed the injunction to be dissolved. Copyright Â© 2019 Salon.com, LLC. On the last day the veterans also planted a tree, as a symbolic gesture for the preservation of life over death. My answer was yes. For Kerry, giving up his ribbons -- the objects he had with him in Washington that week -- made perfect sense. If Kerry wanted to throw away the medals he courageously earned because of his anger at all the lives lost for a useless war, … The Boston Globe quoted him as saying, "I've had thorns from a rose that were worse." Because bullets could easily penetrate the hull, sailors hung flak jackets over the sides. What happened to them? This is where Kerry keeps his Vietnam War archive, including artifacts from his swift boat days. Major Bennie Adkins was wounded 18 times and killed up to 175 enemy soldiers. When and why did the Japanese soldiers become bloodthirsty "savages" … However, when ABC News showed an old clip of Kerry talking on a WRC-TV program called "Viewpoints" on Nov. 6, 1971, claiming he gave back medals during the famous Dewey Canyon III march in Washington in April of that year, they pounced. Its main fear was that VVAW was going to abandon the Capitol and hurl them over the White House gate instead. 60 years on: Why Irish soldiers who died in Niemba did not get medals Defence Forces head then said being killed is not a reason to … It was this morning's dem onstration, though—the spec tacle of the men stripping themselves of combat honors and medals given to them by parents of their dead buddies —that probably best exempli fied the point the group had been trying to make for five days. Nato summit leaders should have been forced to watch the moving protest of the former troops chucking their medals away. "Nothing too fancy," he said as he pointed to the various boxes in which his medals were kept. Then vet after vet mounted the stage to give their stories, moving personal testimonies about why they came to march and why they were throwing back their medals. In 1864, Robert Blake became the first African-American to receive the award. Critics saw him as trying to have it both ways. The media showed little interest in that story. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. "It was our hour of claiming ourselves back. This made perfect sense. An derson, told of a mission in which he said his ship had been directed to “destroy a sus pected Vietcong village.”, After the shelling began, Mr. Grenada recalled, “the spotter planes reported people fleeing across the open fields, so we switched to fragmented shells and began to chop the people up. They didn't know whether these long-haired hippies were on drugs, or whether something had happened in Vietnam that they couldn't fully understand. WASHINGTON, April 23 — In twos and threes, the medals flew over a wire fence that had been hastily erected in front of the Capitol and landed at the feet of the statue of Chief Jus tice John Marshall, at the build ing's west entrance. To his way of thinking, he was symbolically returning his medals to the U.S. government by tossing his ribbons. William L. Calley Jr., Mr. Grenada said, was, “Calley was guilty because he could see who he was killing —I couldn't, so I'm not guilty.” Lieutenant Calley was con victed for murdering civilians at Mylai in South Vietnam. It was as if the U.S. government had corrupted them, seized their moral compass with shiny pin-on honor. The men, who had won the medals in Vietnam were throwing them away. In fact, Hibbard wrote that Kerry was one of the best sailors he knew in three categories -- initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. The criteria for the medal are: "The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly … The session was attended by Senators George S. McGovern of South Dakota, Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota and Philip A. Hart of Michigan, all Democrats. Nowhere in Hibbard's evaluation did he mention any problem with Kerry over Kerry's winning a Purple Heart. The Medal had been their pride and joy, the achievement of a lifetime. Why Irish soldiers who fought Hitler hide their medals ... but he wears his medals in secret. It was the last, and the most emotional of the demonstra tions this week by members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. "When he threw those medals over the fence, I was pretty upset," McCann recalled. Before that he had been fundraising in New York City. Throwing away these medals issued by their government showed that they rejected their government and demanded change, adding also a threat of … According to Hibbard, Kerry had a tiny scratch. ... Japan gained international acclaim for the humane way it treated Russian soldiers in the Russo-Japanese war of 1905. During the Vietnam war protests over 800 Veterans threw their medals away at the Capitol building. 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