“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."
August 9 The Senate Armed Services Committee begins closed-door hearings concerning the influence of civilian advisors on military planning. During the hearings, Defense Secretary McNamara testifies that the extensive and costly U.S. bombing campaign in Vietnam is failing to impact North Vietnam’s war making ability in South Vietnam and that nothing short of “the virtual annihilation of North Vietnam and its people” through bombing would ever succeed.
August 16 Chu Lai, South Vietnam – GIs are warned against subscribing to the antiwar GI newspaper, The Bond.
August 18 California Governor Ronald Reagan says the U.S. should get out of Vietnam citing the difficulties of winning a war when “too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing.”
August 21 The Chinese shoot down two U.S. fighter-bombers that crossed their border during air raids in North Vietnam along the Chinese border.
August 23 Vietnamese People’s Air Force fighter pilot Nguyen Van Coc (Nguyễn Văn Cốc) – who was shot down, but ejected safely in Operation Bolo ion January — led several MIG fighters to intercept a group of 40 American aircraft on a bombing mission; three American F-4D fighters and one F-105D fighter bomber were shot down; 8 American aviators killed or captured.
August 28 U.S. representative Tim Lee Carter (R-KY) stated before Congress: “Let us now, while we are yet strong, bring our men home, every man jack of them. The Vietcong fight fiercely and tenaciously because it is their land and we are foreigners intervening in their civil war. If we must fight, let us fight in defense of our homeland and our own hemisphere.”