“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.”
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.”
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.
Take The Pledge
Please join us and TAKE THE PLEDGE: "I’m with Full Disclosure. I oppose the Pentagon campaign to re-write the history of the Vietnam War."
June The Mobile Riverine Force becomes operational utilizing U.S. Navy ‘Swift’ boats combined with Army troop support to halt NLF usage of inland waterways in the Mekong Delta.
June 1 Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) is established. Originated by veterans who marched in the April 15 New York antiwar demonstration under this banner, it grew to 20-30,000 members and later published 1st Casualty (1971–1972) and then Winter Soldier (1973–1975). It became a significant opponent of the war.
Fort Sill – Pvt. Andy Stapp found guilty of refusing to obey an order to open his footlocker and surrender anti-war literature, was sentenced to 45 days at hard labor, reduction in pay grade and forfeiture of almost a month’s pay. See entries for July 31 and December 25, 1967.
June 2 During Operation Union II (launched May 26), six rifle companies from the 5th marines in a ‘search and destroy’ mission in the Que Son valley fought the PAVN. The PAVN suffered almost 500 KIA, but the Foxtrot Company of the 5th Marines’ 2nd Battalion proportionately lost more of its men than any other American infantry company during the Vietnam War; total American casualties were 71 KIA and 139 wounded.
Capt. Levy found guilty found guilty by a general court martial of disobedience, seeking to promote disloyalty and culpable negligence. On June 3, he is sentenced to three years at hard labor. See entries for December 28, 1966 and May 10-June 2, 1967.
June 23 More than 80 anti-war groups stage the first large-scale war protest in Los Angeles, which ends in clashes with riot police. A crowd of 10-15,000 clashes with 500 riot police outside President Johnson’s fundraiser at the Century City Plaza Hotel. Expecting only 1,000 or 2,000 protesters, the LAPD field commander later tells reporters he had been ‘astounded’ by the size of the demonstration. “Where did all those people come from? I asked myself.” 51 protesters are arrested, and scores are injured. The police attacked the marchers with billy clubs to disperse the crowd.