Veterans were uncomfortable wearing their uniform in public due fear of such abusive attacks. Born out of accusations made by the Nixon administration, they were enlivened in popular culture (recall Rambo saying he was spat on by those maggots at the airport) and enhanced in the imaginations of Vietnam-generation men — some veterans, some not. ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — It was momentous occasion on Friday as more than 400 area veterans, were recognized for their service during the Vietnam … I think some of those veterans felt that this was an affront to their service, and felt as if they had been figuratively spat upon; for some of the more literally inclined this segued into the notion that they were literally spat upon. It's built on the image of veterans being double-crossed by their government or by people on the home front, and a prime example is the myth of returning vets being spat upon by anti-war protesters. To make his case, he politely but ... Lembcke also found no credible evidence of soldiers being spat on, or veterans being confronted at airports; like Dapin, he found that the first allegations of such incidents only surfaced long after the war had ended. But a simple search on Google will return numerous "documented" stories of Vietnam veterans being spit upon when they returned from war. By STEPHEN PHILIONJ erry Lembcke is the author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam, He teaches Sociology at Holy Cross University.In this interview he details research that indicates that Vietnam veterans were not spat upon, and the myth that they were emerged some years later. As documented at length in “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” the idea that vast numbers, if any, Vietnam veterans were spat upon is preposterous. Its genesis was a controversial newspaper column of 20 July 1987 in which Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Bob Greene asked whether there was any truth to the folklore that Vietnam veterans had been spat upon when they returned from the war zone. It's hard to say where they come from. Sociologist Jerry Lembcke of Holy Cross [claims]: “Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus.” Contrary to Lembcke’s claims, I quite easily found many accounts published in the 1967-1972 period claiming spitting on servicemen. For a book I wrote in 1998 I … The person who spat on me was wearing a shirt that said 'Welcome Home Baby-Killer STORIES ABOUT spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. The stories besmirch the reputation of the anti-war movement and help construct an alibi … The veterans in question were anti-war protesters and the alleged culprit was a presumably “patriotic” spectator. no one was spat upon when returning from Vietnam—but from what I've read the proportion of stories about being spat on is far larger than the documented cases. Yet no one I personally know was spat upon, denounced as a “baby killer” and viciously taunted by mobs of war protesters as is so often told by vets who claim to “distinctly remember” such abuse. The persistence of spat-upon Vietnam veteran stories suggests that they continue to fill a need in American culture. In this startling book, Jerry Lembcke demonstrates that not a single incident of this sort has been convincingly documented. Shafer cited a 1998 book by Jerry Lembcke, himself a Vietnam veteran, in which Lembcke was unable to document reports of spat-upon vets. Meanwhile, an imported case was registered in Khanh Hoa province, central Vietnam. Rather, the anti-war Left saw in veterans a natural ally, and the relationship between anti-war forces and most veterans was defined by mutual support. Literally because I saw others spat upon, and figuratively because to spit on one Vietnam veteran is to spit on them all. The image of spat-upon veterans is the icon through which many people remember the loss of the war, the centerpiece of a betrayal narrative that understands the war to have been lost because of treason on the home front. For some reason, in the stories it is always an airport where the spitting allegedly happened, and it is always "hippies" who allegedly did the spitting. Hundreds of Vietnam-era veterans have publicly claimed in recent decades that they were spat on by citizens or anti-war protesters because of their military status, either before they went to Vietnam, when they were on leave, or after their returned from overseas. Of course, I know this score to be wrong. If I were the only one to be spat upon, the score would be: not spat upon, 1,999,999, spat upon, 1. A later publication that did specifically focus on what greeted returning Vietnam veterans is. Conscripted Vietnam veterans have told the ABC they feel abandoned by the Government and ashamed among fellow veterans owing to a decision to not award them a Vietnam War military medal. Does being thrown out of class, yelled at, being called a baby killer count? Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam is a book of selected correspondence published in 1989. Source: Wikimedia Commons U.S. Marines in Operation Allen Brook. Maybe it happened; it just didn’t happen to me or anyone I served with. Was the homecoming of Vietnam veterans pocked marked with unwelcome reception, and were Vietnam veterans spit upon when they arrived back in the states? Having heard stories for several years of Vietnam veterans being spit on by war . Veterans of that war recall being treated badly upon their return and bearing the brunt of the blame for a misguided war. "While no-one can say that no veteran was ever spat on, there was not one single reported or remembered instance of an Australian veteran being spat upon until 1982," Dr Dapin says. This is intended to dispel the myth of returing Vietnam veterans being spat upon by generally female counter culture stereotypes. Back then veterans … Lembcke: I was in Vietnam in 1969 and got involved in Vietnam Veterans Against the War once I returned and yet there were things in that film that I had not known about at the time. Reynolds’ account, by the way, is substantially corroborated by the FBI’s file on the VVAW. Currently, the patient is being quarantined at Hanoi’s Hospital of Tropical Diseases for observation and treatment. That was not the case after Vietnam. Lembcke also discovered something even more remarkable. Shamefully, many veterans were attacked personally by opponents of the war. In historical terms, it is still too “fresh.” Too close to us. Three weeks later I was in college. This, I fear, is not the case with this new documentary on the Vietnam War. By Jim Lindgren on February 8, 2007 5:02 am. It's impossible to disprove a negative—i.e. There were students who were opposed to the war, but afraid to speak out because of what they had heard about the antiwar movement and veterans during the Vietnam War era. Vietnam veterans were blamed for the war and the failure of the war to meet its objectives. The author goes a long way to document that there exists no documented cases on period film or literature that it occurred. Vietnam veteran, antiwar activist and sociologist Jerry Lembcke began researching the stories of spat-upon veterans when they were spreading like wildfire during the buildup to the first Gulf war. There are many reports of veterans being verbally abused or even spat upon as they disembarked at the airport. 2. On the one hand there was a lot in the news in the papers about the vets antiwar movement at the time, which I know now just from researching it. As far as I know that is the only contemporaneously published eyewitness account of veterans being spat upon. It is only 50 years in the past. If you haven't you'll want to check out Jerry Lembcke's The spitting image: myth, memory, and the legacy of Vietnam. The 30-year-old patient of Thai Binh province is a sailor on board Nippon Maru cargo ship. Murray Polner, No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran, I wanted to start a new life. There are still millions alive today who lived it, both as soldiers, or as protesters. I have heard a lot of stories from people with relatives and grandfathers who were veterans that allege that they were spat upon, treated badly or were held in contempt by the public when they have gotten back. by journalist Bob Greene, published in 1989. I made a mistake. Landmark Cases ; Newsmakers Sundays on ... returning from the Vietnam War and looked at the accuracy of accounts of Vietnam Veterans being “spat upon” by anti-war activists. Lembcke … Apparently, both you and Mr. Lembcke chose to ignore those inconvenient truths. "To be spat on" can very well mean they were treated poorly in general, which is well documented (and still often the case with veterans of other conflicts in both the US and other countries). Many 1967-72 Spitting Incidents Are Documented in the Press. The actions of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which Lembcke was a member of, are well noted for making claims against soldiers serving in Viet Nam, claims I might add, that could not be documented or supported when investigated by Naval Intelligence, at the request of Congress in 1971, despite those making them being offered immunity for any prosecution of having taken part in them. My second Lembcke work - the first was - 'A Tailwind Tale' which was meant to make the case against live prisoners of war remeaining in Indochina. Jane Fonda's noisiest detractors insist she should … He notes that soldiers returning from unsuccessful overseas wars in many countries … Homecoming: When Soldiers Returned from Vietnam. I came home from Vietnam in the summer. A soldier, fresh from Vietnam duty, wearing his uniform, gets off the plane at an American airport, where he is spat upon by "hippies." Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. 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