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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Viet Veterans Organize
"WE are veterans of the Vietnam war. We believe in the United States of America, its Constitutioon and laws. We stand ready to defend our nation against its enemies, foriegn and domestic.
"We believe in freedom to speak, to think, to change our mind and to dissent. We believe in democracy.
"We do not believe our country should be supported right or wrong, but rather that it is our democratic duty to challenge government policies when we conscientiously believe them to he wrong.
'We believe that the conflict in which the United States is engaged in Viat-Nam is wrong, unjustifiable and contrary to the principles on which this country was founded.
"We join the dissent of the millions of Americans against this war. We sspport oor buddies still in Viet-Nam. We want them home alive. We want them home now. We want to prevent any other young men from being sent to Viet-Nam. We want an end to the war now,
'We believe that this is the highest Patriotism."
Under the ideals of the above credo (formally written and adopted later) six Viet-Nam veterans from New York, on June 1, 1967 organized VIET-NAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR. Since then, the group - on outgrowth of individual Viet-Nam veteran participation at the April 15 demonstration in New York and the Memorial Day veterans ceremony in Washington - has expanded rapidly. Collectively its members have served in Viet-Nam or off-shore (some for more than one tour) from the late 1950's right up through the present. Individually they have served with nearly every unit ever there, including: MAAG, 5th Special Forces, 9th Marines, 7th Fleet carriers and destroyers, the Air Force, the Merchant Marine, and a variety of Army airborne, signal, logistics, aviation and infantry units. At present they range in rank from PFC to Captain.
According to Francis R Rocks, Secretary-Treasurer of the new group, VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR is not a membership organization per se, but functions more as a coordinating body and clearinghouse, based in New York, for actions by antiwar Viet-Nam veterans across the country. It steering committee -- open to any Viet-Nam veteran -- sets general guidelines, plans and sponsors area, regional and national actions, and aids in setting up local groups of Viet-Nam vets against the war. At present there are groups forming or in the process of forming at Columbia University, the University at Indiana, the University of Texas, and in Detroit.
Its addition, a number of doctors who have served in Viet-Nam are planning on organizing in opposition to the war.
'The reason for this," says Mr. Rocks, who spent 13 months in Viet-Nam as a communications sergeant, "is because even though we are in contact with VietNam vets across the country-we do not envision ourselves or intend to became a national organization. We feel that, at this stage anyhow, the impetus should he at the local level-Viet-Nam vets working to influence and educate people in their own area. Hopefully, we can provide an overall coordination for this. But coordination; not command. We will assist and advise, and in national actions provide the groundwork forces, but only with the approval of the local groups and individuals."
At present. VIET-NAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR--working mainly in the New York area until other groups can form--has: picketed LBJ at two Democratic Party dinners In New York, provided four speakers and a marching contingent at the July 4th veterans' demonstration in Philadelphia: sponsored a petition far a referendum on the war in New York City and a Hiroshima Day commemoration that also supported Capt. Howard Levy's right to bail while his appeals are pending, leafleted New York's Post Authority and several airports across the country, and provided speakers to a number of church, college, community and ppeace groups. In all of these actions they have received a growing amount of press attention, including national radio and TV interviews, panel diiscussions and debates. Various individuals, and the group itself, have been featured in a number at newspapers and magazines.
Veterans Stars and Stripes for Peace, vol. 1, no. 1