2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the major escalation of the American War in Vietnam. The Pentagon is very aware of the significance of this year and has mounted a heavily funded initiative to commemorate the war as a time in our history to celebrate. We in Veterans For Peace have pledged to meet their campaign with one of our own -- we call it the Vietnam War Full Disclosure movement (see our web site at http://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/). We think the American people deserve a more truthful accounting. Please join us.
You can start by writing a letter to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall).
Yes, to The Wall. Let those American soldiers who died know how you feel about the war that took their lives. If you have been seared by the experience of the American war in Vietnam War, then tell them your story. Veterans, conscientious objectors, veterans' family members, war resistors, anyone whose life was touched by the war -- all of us need to speak. All of our experiences matter.
Our plans are to gather boxes of letters from folks like you who do not share the mythologized version of the Vietnam War advocated by the Pentagon. We want to honor and preserve your memory. At noon on Memorial Day, 2015, we will place our letters at the foot of the Wall in Washington, DC as a form of remembrance. Your letter will remain sealed unless you give us permission to share it with others (some letters are already shared on our website – go to
As a Vietnam War veteran myself, I consider The Wall to be sacred ground. The placing of our letters at the Wall will be treated as a service, a commemoration of the terrible toll that war took on American and Southeast Asian families. And as a trumpet call for peace.
Once the letters have been placed, those of us who served in Vietnam will "walk the Wall," i.e., we will begin to mourn our brothers and sisters by starting at the panel commemorating our arrival in Vietnam and finishing at the panel marking our departure from Vietnam. But we will not stop there. Then all of us – veterans and civilians -- will continue walking beyond the confines of the Wall to memorialize the approximately six million Southeast Asian lives as a result of that war. This will be a symbolic act, for if we were to walk the total distance needed to commemorate those lives lost, using the model of the Wall, we would need to pace 9.6 miles, a walk equivalent to the distance from the Lincoln Memorial to Chevy Chase, Maryland.
If you wish to submit a letter, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject line: Memorial Day 2015) or by snail mail to Attn: Full Disclosure, Veterans For Peace, 409 Ferguson Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 by May 15, 2015.
Doug Rawlings, Founding member of Veterans For Peace