New York — Over 75 anti-war military veterans and their supporters met in midtown Manhattan on Sept. 16 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. VVAW was formally formed on June 1, 1967, by six U.S. Army veterans. It soon spread to all branches of the U.S. military and had a peak membership of 30,000, including former officers and enlisted veterans.
The program included speakers from other U.S. wars and occupations — Korea, Somalia, Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan — and representatives from About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War) and Veterans For Peace.
Operation Dewey Canyon I took place in January/February 1969 when the Third Marine Division invaded Laos. Operation Dewey Canyon II occurred in February 1971 when South Vietnamese puppet troops also invaded Laos. Organized by VVAW in April 1971, Operation Dewey Canyon III saw thousands of Vietnam veterans — many in wheelchairs and on crutches — descend on Washington., D.C., for a week of demonstrations to protest the war in Southeast Asia. It included veterans throwing away their medals and ribbons on the steps of the Capitol building.
VVAW continues to focus on issues of peace, social justice, veterans’ health and the continuing impact of Agent Orange on the people of Vietnam.