In my work on this book, I:ve mostly been immersed in the stories of the first Winter Soldiers in 1776, discovering long-forgotten dissenters like Matthew Lyon and Nicholas Trist. But last weekend, I visited with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the group that first inspired me to write it.
At a gathering im Brooklyn of local VVAW members, I felt a little like I was in the midst of a film. Men shouted across the room to each other: “I haven’t seen you since [the 1972 Republican Convention in] Miami, with Ron [Kovic]!” These were veterans of the 1971 Operation Dewey Canyon III, when thousands of young veterans camped out in Washington and refused to leave. Many had participated in the Winter Soldier Investigation, their voices mostly left behind until this film (a must-see) was released 25 years later.
The vets rank beer and ate potluck – and also spoke of how to best support the new generation, the Iraq veterans coming home with their own hard experiences. In March, the Iraq Veterans Against War will be holding their own Winter Soldier hearings, and doing it right in Washington, D.C. VVAW has promised to have their back: I only hope that the rest of us pledged to “support the troops” do the same.