2015-05-25 05:57:24

Democracy Now! - May 25, 2015

As the nation celebrates Memorial Day, we look back at the Vietnam War. Fifty years ago, on March 7, 1965, 3,500 U.S. marines landed in South Vietnam, marking the start of the U.S. ground war in Vietnam. That same day, in Alabama, state troopers beat back civil rights protesters in Selma trying to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Weeks later, the first teach-in against the Vietnam War was held at the University of Michigan. By 1968, the U.S. had half a million troops in Vietnam. The war continued until April 1975. Some scholars estimate as many as 3.8 million Vietnamese died during the war, up to 800,000 perished in Cambodia, another one million in Laos. The U.S. death toll was 58,000. Today we spend the hour airing highlights from a recent conference titled "Vietnam: The Power of Protest." We begin with Tom Hayden, who helped to found SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.

Wayne Smith served as a combat medic in Vietnam. He joined the peace movement after he returned home. He spoke recently at the recent "Vietnam: The Power of Protest" conference in Washington, D.C.

In 1972, Pat Schroeder of Colorado was elected to Congress, becoming the second-youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She ran on an antiwar platform. Once elected, she pushed to cut off funding for the war. She spoke recently at the conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."

Ron Dellums was elected to Congress in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War. In one of his first acts in office, he took a small annex room to his office in the House and mounted an exhibition of the atrocities committed by the United States in Vietnam. Dellums would rise to serve as chair of the Armed Services Committee. Later he became mayor of Oakland. "Peace is the superior idea, that the umbrella movement for—of all movements, the peace movement, because to come together under the banner of peace forces us to challenge all forms of injustice," Dellums said at the recent conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."


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