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US combat troops first arrived in Vietnam in 1965. By 1971, the United States’ participation in the Vietnam War had grown ever more unpopular among the general population. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized an anti-war protest in Washington DC. Dubbed "Operation Dewey Canyon III" after two short military invasions of Laos, it was to be "a limited incursion into the country of Congress."
After four days of protesting around the Capital and camping on the National Mall, the group marched to the Capitol building to make their final demonstration. They were planning to deliver all of their medals together directly to the building. One idea was even proposed to deliver the medals in a body bag. However, they arrived at the Capitol to be blocked by a wooden barricade. The group changed plans, and set up a mic stand in front of the fence. One by one, the more than 800 veterans stated their names and their units, then threw their medals, ribbons, and other war mementos at the Capitol.
"What did you do with your medals, lads?"
"Threw them in the Cut."
"Yep. Threw them in the Cut."
The barricade changed their plans, and they improvised to make one of the best photo ops for their cause.
That’s a powerful image and statement right there
The Ken Burns Vietnam documentary covered this moment as well I believe and interviewed a few of the veterans who were there. Phenomenal documentary series for anyone interested
Ken Burns did docu on The Vietnam War has more on this – as well as the guys that were doing the throwing.
The guy with the cav hat in the first video is Ron Ferrizzi – a door gunner/crew chief in helicopters. Intense is an understatement.
I wonder if anyone polls Americans to see what percentage of them think our involvement in Vietnam ended in victory…
Back when protests actually meant something