Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 24 14:57:53 UTC 2010

I found a single Vietnam-era ex. of the story in NewspaperArchive:

1971 _Lebanon [Pa.] Daily News_ (June 16) 16: For example, James Minarik,
who served with the 101st Airborne and plans to teach at the University of
Dayton, recounted that he was spat on as he walked the streets in uniform
and was refused admittance at a good restaurant in San Francisco as a "war

Interestingly enough, the article, which appeared in several
papers, concerns the formation of  Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace,  a
conservative group formed in opposition to Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
The VVJP was especially outraged by John Kerry's Congressional
testimony earlier in the year. The article prominently quotes John O'Neill -
organizer, thirty-three years later, of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Equally interesting is the story in the Harrisonburg, Va., _Daily News
Record_ (March 25, 1983) about an incident at Arlington National Cemetery. A
depressed and suicidal veteran, Robert K. Whitebeck, upset because the
country hadn't acknowledged his service in Vietnam, held six U.S. Army honor
guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at gunpoint for half an hour.

Whitebeck's wife is quoted as saying, "He was spat on after he got back."

On Mon, May 24, 2010 at 9:29 AM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Vietnam
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Not to quibble (who among us would do THAT?), but reports of youthful
> protesters' spitting on soldiers who were returning from the battlefields of
> Vietnam probably shouldn't be called "urban legends"--since a LEGEND would
> be a narrative, and the reports contain little or no actual narrative. But
> there certainly is a prevalent folk belief here.
> The "radical" leftish groups with which I liked to identify in those days
> generally espoused sympathy with the returning soldiers--who were themselves
> victims of the "machine" (or whatever).
> It tends to be forgotten that the most effective opposition to the generous
> treatmant of Vietnam War participants (for example, making available
> high-quality medical care and educational benifits) came from so-called
> "veterans" groups--the American Legion and the VFW. Members of the vaunted
> Greatest Generation seemed loath to regard participants in such late, minor,
> and failed skirmishes as true veterans.
> --Charlie
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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