Friday, April 29, 2016

Send A Memorial Day Letter To The Vietnam Veterans Wall In Wash DC

Photo credit: Meutia Chaerani - Indradi Soemardjan - Own work Indrani, CC BY 2.5,
My life has been touched by the suffering of Vietnam veterans since I was a teenager. My first lover was a Vietnam veteran who eventually killed himself. 

I began to fall in love with my husband when I heard him tell a military age young man why he had risked his own health to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war: he knew that his government was lying to him.

My friends in the current antiwar movement often are veterans of Vietnam who have sustained the moral injuries of combat and who struggle with depression and despair. Many family members of students I've taught have suffered from PTSD, substance abuse, cancer and other health effects of being Vietnam vets. This continues to put stress on families down through the generations.
"Heavily bandaged woman with a tag attached to her arm
which reads 'VNC Female' meaning Vietnamese civilian"

Photo credit: By Philip Jones Griffiths - National Library of WalesThe National Library of Wales, CC BY-SA 4.0,
The above is my response to this invitation from Veterans for Peace co-founder Doug Rawlings:


If you have suffered through the Vietnam war, either as a military veteran or as a resister or as a partner of a veteran or a child or a sibling of a veteran or just as a caring citizen of this country, you need to know that your voice is needed. 

On Memorial Day, May 30th, we will be delivering letters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) with heartfelt messages to those young men and women whose names are on The Wall. Please join us. 

Your note can be one paragraph long or many paragraphs. It can be written to a specific name on The Wall or just as a general cry out against war. Last year we laid 151 letters and 32 postcards at the foot of The Wall in a ceremony that not only profoundly affected us but also those who read the letters as they passed by. Rest assured that your letter will be treated with the respect and caring it deserves -- this ceremony is not a political action. It is an act of remembrance and grief. 

But it also is more than a reaching out to the past. It is a message to the future.  You who have firsthand knowledge of that war need to have your voices heard. For the next ten years we will be witnessing a series of fifty year commemorations that will mark the Viet Nam War in the minds of many young people. They need to know more than the "official" story of that war. They need to know the many truths that only you can tell. Please join us.

You have until MAY 14TH to write your letter and send it either as an email message to or as a handwritten letter to Doug Rawlings, 13 Soper Road, Chesterville, Maine 04938. 

I will guarantee that your letter will be placed in a business envelope, opened at the top, with the words "PLEASE READ ME" emblazoned on the front flap, and then placed at the foot of The Wall at 10:30am, Memorial Day, May 30th.   

Last year, the National Park Service collected all of our letters and then asked if they could place the letters in a special display. We agreed. Our voices continue to be heard. Please put your voice alongside ours.

Doug Rawlings
Veterans For Peace

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