“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."
October 1967 A public opinion poll indicates 46 percent of Americans now believe U.S. military involvement in Vietnam to be a “mistake.” However, most Americans also believe that the U.S. should “win or get out” of Vietnam. Also in October, Life magazine renounces its earlier support of President Johnson’s war policies.
October 5 Hanoi accuses the U.S. of hitting a school in North Vietnam with anti-personnel bombs.
October 12 A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority” in the NY Review of Books: 2,000 sign, including academics, clergymen, writers
October 18 Protest at University of Wisconsin against recruiters for Dow Chemical Company (producers of napalm). When students blocked access to the school’s Commerce Building, Madison police began to remove them by force. Tear gas and nightsticks were the primary dispersal weapons that day, and 65 students and 3 police officers were injured. Dow Chemical was banned from the campus.
There are a total of 40 large campus demonstrations against military and Dow recruiters throughout the Fall.
October 16-20 Stop the Draft Week: From Protest to Resistance. On October 17, 122 people, including Joan Baez, were arrested at the Oakland, California (Draft) Induction Center. After police brutality, the demonstrations become ore militant throughout the week. By October 20, 4000 marched through the streets, blocking Army buses, clashing with police. At a sit-in at the Oakland Army Induction Center, 97 were arrested, including Joan Baez. The city was brought to a standstill as protesters built barricades across roads to prevent buses carrying recruits to the Army’s conscription center. Police reinforcements came in from San Francisco as demonstrators, many wearing helmets and holding plywood shields, overturned cars and threw bottles, tin cans and stones at the police.
Stop the Draft Week actions also take place in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, and Portland; organized by National Mobilization Committee.
October 21-23 March on the Pentagon draws 50-100,000 protesters. In London, protesters try to storm the U.S. embassy. There are big antiwar rallies throughout Western Europe and in Japan. The rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial started peacefully, though Dr. Benjamin Spock—baby specialist, author, and outspoken critic of the war—did call President Johnson “the enemy.” After the rally, the demonstrators, many waving the red, blue, and gold flag of the Viet Cong, began marching toward the Pentagon. Violence erupted when demonstrators clashed with the soldiers and U.S. Marshals protecting the Pentagon.
The protesters surrounded and besieged the military nerve center until the early hours of October 23. By the time order was restored, 683 people, including novelist Norman Mailer and two United Press International reporters, had been arrested. During the protest, a famous picture was taken, where George Harris placed carnations into the soldiers’ gun barrels. The march concluded with an attempt to “exorcise” the building. Mailer later described the demonstration in his Pulitzer prize-winning Armies of the Night: History as a Novel/The Novel as History.
For images see: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVvcAg0FVjWQAZuUnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&va=march+on+the+Pentagon+1967&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002 ,
http://ghostsofdc.org/2013/11/12/incredible-photos-of-1967-march-on-pentagon-against-the-vietnam-war/ and http://www.jofreeman.com/photos/Pentagon67.html .
October 31 President Johnson reaffirms his commitment to maintain U.S. involvement in South Vietnam.