The military's preventing its own men from coming here has shown just how far up the wall this march is putting the military. I'd like to see all of us continue to keep giving theem aa boost up the wall. (Don Duncan)
700 GIs and 7,000-10,000 veterans and civiliaans took part in the GI & Vets March for Peace in San Francisco on October 12th. 200 active-duty GIs and 200 reservists led it off. Another 300 GIs jopined while they marched or mingled with civilians at the rally. Also marching were several hundred Vietnam veterans, several thousand other veterans, and thousands of civilians.
The march and rally, were planned, orgaanized and conducted by GIs and veterans. Every braanch of the military was represented.
Pete Seeger marched in support, and sang anti-war folk songs between speeches.
AIC Michael Locks read the AF regulaation which supposedly made it a violation of the UCMJ for him to be there in his dress blues. Then he said, "I can think of no greater cause to wear my uniform than for the cause of peace."
David Kleinberg: "I spent fourteen months in Vietnam... I speak for hundreds of Vietnam vets who are here and the thousands more who would be here if they could...One of the kids who marched with us here today has the Silver Star with Valor, the Bronze Star with Valor and four Purple Hearts. The American people can't say that we don't know what it's about, that we're cowards. We were there. We saw what it is and we say it is wrong."
Lt. Sue Schnall, navy nurse and peace bomber, told what the war meant to her. "It means training, working with young corpsmen to care for the ill and the injured... getting to know, to love these guys and then to lose them in a dirty filthy war. It means obeying orders and dying, while those whom they obey live .... For these reasons i plead - end the war now, BRING OUR BOYS HOME ALIVE,'
Then ex-M/Sgt. Don Duncan, Vietnam vet, and Brig. Gen. Hugh Hester, vet of World Wars 1 and 2, and Korea, tore into the war, the Establishment, the politicians, their foreign policy, and the military itself....The crowd knocked itself not applauding except when Hester recommended voting for Nixon as the lesser of three evils. He was loudly booed for that and he would have been If he'd recommended Humphrey or Wallace.
The crowd cheered when Duncan said , "There are many of as that feel that the election this year is completely meaningless because we have no representatives for whom we can vote."
Marching for peace doesn't come cheap. Publicity for this march cost $4,000. Whereas previous marches have barely broken even, this first march by GIs wound up with a $3,000 surplus. Civilians realize the importance of supporting GIs for peace. And the support is coming from "solid citizens" as is evidenced by the fact that the FBI witch-hunted through the list of contributors and meekly returned the records.
The march was a success in spite of the brass' documented attempts to quash it; In spite of a highly unusual number of mickey mouse inspections and drills in the SF Bay Area on October 12th; In spite of abortive attempts to ship out the organizers. The only thing the brass was successful at was making sip new regs to prevent the wearing at the uniform at peace demonstrations. Not more than a dozen Gin showed up in uniform.
The Army subsidized John Wayne when he made the pro-war movie, "The Green Berets" and they coerced GIs into appearing in it in uniform. For engaging in anti-war activity in uniform the brass in trying to give Mike Locks and Sue Schnall general courts martial and four years at hard labor.
The plainclothes military police came out in force. CID, 0SI, ONI and other agents tried to hassle GIs, but the crowd ran them off. They had to stay away until the crowd left. Then they slurked back and bested a uniformed sailor who had lingered too long. It was sickening to see a Gl thrown in to a paddy wagon for trying to exercise his right of peaceful assembly.
A lot of GIs were harassed when they got back to base. But for once they knew they had hurt the brass far more than the brass could hurt them.
The Pentagon's lie of GIs enthusiastically marching off to Nam was shown for what it is. You can continue to expose this lie by hooking up with local vets groups and students to organize GI protests in your area. You may even be lucky as Lt. Smith, the prime organizer of this one. The Air Force is giving him an honorable discharge, figuring he's too hat in handle,
Steve Pizzo, a Marine reservist, summed it all up: "The day of the silent sacrifice is over."
The Ally, no. 11