Bill Palmer w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET
Mon May 24 23:59:39 UTC 2010

As I mentioned earlier, I was never insulted, spat upon, or treated
differently in any way, as one who had served in Vietnam.  Neither did I
ever see or hear anything which would make me think that I, or any other
":vet" was regarded as loser, nor were vets in general. In fact, I'm hearing
that for the first in Paul's post.

It should be pointed out that service in Vietnam did not automatically
equate to serving in combat. Far from it.  For every one actively engaging
the enemy on  a regular basis, there were 6-7 REMF's..."Rear Echelon

Paul's post is reminiscent of "The Caine Mutiny"...towards the end when
Greenwald ironically speculates about Keefer's war novel, in which he
predicts that the novel's enlisted men will be all lovable citizen-
soldiers, and the officers sadistic Fascists, wasting lives and bitching up
the campaigns.

Bill Palmer

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Johnston" <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: Vietnam

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Vietnam
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is totally anecdotal, I'm sure, but as someone who was a
> "hippie" (we always called ourselves "freaks" at U. of MI in '68-'72)
> and somewhat of an antiwar activist , I want to echo what Charlie
> said about our attitudes toward veterans of Vietnam.  While we were
> shocked and horrified at events like My Lai, and didn't have much
> love for the commanders and less for the politicians giving the
> ultimate orders, we were sympathetic to ordinary soldiers on the
> whole, many of whom had been our friends and classmates once upon a
> time.  The people who were pro-Vietnam War tended more often to look
> on the vets as "losers" and scorned them, as Charlie said, from what
> I saw.  I'm not sure how prevalent that view was among those
> "Greatest Generation" members who had actually been in combat versus
> those who had not--my dad would have had opinions about that (even
> though he had not, himself).
> IMHO, these stories were just grist for the propaganda mill during
> the rightward turn of American politics leading up to the Reagan
> years, along with the constant claims of massive numbers of American
> MIAs still languishing in Vietnamese prisons (until the '90s).
> Paul Johnston
> On May 24, 2010, at 9:29 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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>> 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 -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -


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