U Mass-Dartmouth Class Commemorates Vietnam Protests · 03 May 2006

Filed under: Massachusetts

Email sent to faculty suggests offering extra credit to students who attend

SAF--05/04/06

Editor's note: the following email was sent out by a professor at U Mass-Dartmouth.

Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006
From: "UMDANNOUNCE@umassd.edu"
Subject: Vietnam War events on may 1st and 3rd

In honor of the 35th anniversary of the Dewey Canyon III protests organized in Washington D.C. by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), students in [a history professor's] "America in Vietnam" class have organized a public forum, to be held on May 1st and May 3rd.

This promises to be a very powerful and interesting event, about both Vietnam and Iraq.

If faculty would like to offer their students extra credit for attending, I can make a sign-up sheet available at each event.

Dewey Canyon III, which took place April 18th-23rd was one of the most influential and powerful protests against the war in Vietnam. Dewey Canyon III involved two events in particular that had a powerful effect on public opinion: the testimony by VVAW activist John Kerry before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22nd and the emotional protest the following day in which hundreds of decorated veterans discarded their medals and ribbons.

Along with the Winter Soldier hearings held in Detroit earlier that year, VVAW's powerful witness against the war played a key role in speeding the end of the conflict. Their activism, and the growing anti-war activism of Iraq war veterans today (symbolized by groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War, founded in Boston), raises important questions about the meaning of patriotism during wartime, and what supporting the troops might mean for American citizens.

All events are in Group I room 117 at 6:30pm. The schedule is as follows:

* Monday night, May 1st, 6:30pm: film "Winter Soldier," and discussion

Film: Winter Soldier (1972)

In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, an astonishing public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held in Detroit. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed. Little was reported to the American public. "Winter Soldier," made by veterans themselves, is the record of that important event.

Discussion to follow, with Fall River Vietnam veteran Joe Carvalho, who served around the DaNang area during the Tet Offensive. His tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from 1967-1968. He joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War as a student at UMass-Dartmouth (then SMU).

* Wednesday night, May 3rd, 6:30pm: film "Sir No Sir," and panel discussion

Film: Sir No Sir (2006)

A powerful new film about the G.I. movement against the Vietnam war, by active duty soldiers and veterans.

Panel discussion, involving the following individuals:

Joe Bangert, a Cape Cod resident, served with VMO-6 (Marine Observation Squadron 6) as a door gunner on a helicopter in Quang Tri, Vietnam, 1968-1969. Bangert joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) during the summer of 1970 and participated in Operation RAW (1970), the Winter Soldier Investigation (January 1971) and Operation Dewey Canyon III (April 1971) in Washington, D.C. He later lived in Vietnam from 1992-1997.

Jerry Lembcke grew up in small-town Northwest Iowa. He was drafted in 1968 and served in Vietnam as a Chaplain's Assistant in the 41st Artillery Group in 1969. In 1970, Jerry joined VVAW. He is the author of "The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam" and "CNN's Tailwind Tale: Inside Vietnam's Last Great Myth" and currently Associate Professor of Sociology at Holy Cross College.

Andy Sapp is an Iraq war veteran, a resident of Billerica, MA, and a high school English teacher. He enlisted in the Navy in 1976, and served in Iraq and Kuwait for 17 months. He returned in October 2005, and has been a vocal critic of the war since. He is a member the Boston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Readers wishing to contact administrators at U Mass-Dartmouth can find their names at the university website: www.umassd.edu