Myth: That in reality the stories of returning soldiers being spat at or upon was made up by Far Right extremists as a way to smear the antiwar movement

Fact: In 1966, antiwar protestors marched with the Vietcong flag (NYT 4-17-66) and cases of being spit on were documented in WSJ 10-8-68, WAPO 6-2-71 and  NYT 11-30-71. In a Dec 27, 1971 CBS TV interview of a returning combat medic, Delmar Pickett, Jr., Pickett stated that he was spit on in Seattle. In fact, spitting on troops was so common that the New York Times reported (8-26-1967) that the National Guard was specifically trained not to react to spitting.

  • Professor Jerry Lembcke wrote "The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam" which concluded that the spitting stories were a myth.
  • Lembcke didn't bother to reveal that he was a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and was a Marxist and an anti-war activist who had an agenda in publishing his book.
  • Lembcke's "proof" that spitting didn't occur was soundly debunked by Jim Lindgren of Volokh Conspiracy, including proof that he lied about several things he stated in his book.
  • Contemporaneous documentation has been found in the (PA) Bucks County Courier Times, New York Times, the Pomona Progress Bulletin, the Associated Press, the Panama News, the Washington Post and the Odessa American, among others.
  • According to a August 27, 1967 New York Times article, written by Neil Sheehan, National Guardsmen were trained to endure spitting by being spat upon during training.
  • According to a December 27, 1969 Washington Post article, an SNCC official urged protestors to spit on the President "as a tactic of protesting the Vietnam War".
  • At least one former anti-war protestor has admitted to spitting on soldiers during his protesting days.
  • Spitting on National Guardsmen at the 1968 Democratic Convention was documented by the Walker Report, a government-commissioned report on the protests as well as the Daley report, commissioned by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
  • Even Congressional Medal of Honor winners were spat on and insulted. In one documented instance, a WWII CMOH winner, James Conners, decked a protestor who was yelling "killer, killer" at him.
  • One prominent anti-war protestor, Congressman Allard Lowenstein, implored students who opposed the war, in a May 14, 1969 article in the Washington Post, to stop all the spitting.
  • One of the most prominent protestors of all, Tom Hayden, was arrested for spitting on a police detective during the Chicago Democratic Convention.
  • Bob Greene's "Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam" documents the stories of vets that testify to being spat on or disrespected in other ways when returning to the States.
  • In some cases, even veterans of previous wars turned their backs on Vietnam vets. There are numerous stories of the VFW and American Legion refusing to accept membership applications from Vietnam vets.
  • Soldiers returning to Oakland were warned about protestors and body searched for weapons before they were exposed to them, because there had been incidents of violence priot to the policy change.
  • It is self-evident, from the many recent Welcome Home parades for Vietnam vets, that Vietnam vets were not welcomed home when they returned.

Confirming Evidence

"Baby Killers"

Vietnam Veterans and the VFW

Vietnam vets to gather for 'welcome home': Are they ready to forgive?

Volokh Conspiracy articles by Jim Lindgren

Aging Peace: Where Once They Stood Apart, Vietnam`s Veterans Are Now Standing With Fighters Of Earlier Wars. Why Has It Taken 15 Years?

Finally Home: Parade to welcome Vietnam veterans '37 years late'

Re: Spitting on Vietnam Vets: The Evidence

They want it, lets give it to them...

It Was True. It Did Happen. I Know It Did.

In Country, Stories of the Vietnam War From the Veterans Who Lived it

Vietnam veterans accepted, respected decades after their war ended

Finishing My Unfinished Business

The Loneliness of the American Hero

Vietnam, the war that wouldn't end

Vietnam vet proud of service at Dau Tieng

Attitudes towards American veterans have changed over the years

Sailor improving after knifing at game

Medal of Honor Winners Find Themselves Subjected to Abuse

For The Record > Spitting on Vets a Myth?

Mayor Richard Daley releases report on Democratic Convention violence

Veteran sees anti-war protests firsthand