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Public forum and films on Vietnam, Iraq and soldier dissent at UMass Dartmouth, May 1 and May 3

Events to mark the 35th anniversary of the Dewey Canyon III protests organized in Washington, D.C. by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)

In honor of the 35th anniversary of the Dewey Canyon III protests organized in Washington D.C. by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), students at UMass Dartmouth have organized a public forum.

Students in history professor Mark Santow's "America in Vietnam" class will offer a public forum and films on Vietnam, Iraq and Soldier Dissent at UMass Dartmouth on May 1 and 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 117.

Dewey Canyon III, which took place April 18-23, 1971, was one of the most influential and powerful protests against the war in Vietnam. Dewey Canyon III involved two events in particular that had a powerful effect on public opinion: the testimony by VVAW activist John Kerry before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, and the emotional protest the following day in which hundreds of decorated veterans discarded their medals and ribbons.

Along with the Winter Soldier hearings held in Detroit earlier that year, VVAW's powerful witness against the war played a key role in speeding the end of the conflict.  Their activism, and the growing anti-war activism of Iraq war veterans today (symbolized by groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War, founded in Boston), raises important questions about the meaning of patriotism during wartime, and what supporting the troops might mean for American citizens.

The schedule is as follows:

May 1, 6:30 p.m.: Film Winter Soldier and discussion

Winter Soldier (1972)

In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, an astonishing public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held in Detroit. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed.  Little was reported to the American public. Winter Soldier, made by veterans themselves, is the record of that important event.

Discussion to follow, with Fall River Vietnam veteran Joe Carvalho, who served around the DaNang area during the Tet Offensive.  His tour of duty in Vietnam lasted from 1967-1968.  He joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War as a student at UMass Dartmouth (then Southeastern Massachusetts University).

May 3, 6:30 p.m. Film Sir No Sir and panel discussion

Sir No Sir (2006)

A powerful new film about the G.I. movement against the Vietnam war, by active duty soldiers and veterans.

Panel discussion, involving the following individuals:

-Joe Bangert, a Cape Cod resident, served with VMO-6 (Marine Observation Squadron 6) as a door gunner on a helicopter in Quang Tri, Vietnam, 1968-1969. Bangert joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) during the summer of 1970 and participated in Operation RAW (1970), the Winter Soldier Investigation (January 1971) and Operation Dewey Canyon III (April 1971) in Washington, D.C.  He later lived in Vietnam from 1992 to 1997.

-Jerry Lembcke grew up in small-town Northwest Iowa. He was drafted in 1968 and served in Vietnam as a Chaplain's Assistant in the 41st Artillery Group in 1969. In 1970, Jerry joined VVAW. He is the author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam and CNN's Tailwind Tale: Inside Vietnam's Last Great Myth and is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at Holy Cross College.

-Andy Sapp is an Iraq war veteran, a resident of Billerica, MA, and a high school English teacher. He enlisted in the Navy in 1976, and served in Iraq and Kuwait for 17 months. He returned in October 2005, and has been a vocal critic of the war since. He is a member the Boston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

-Joe Carvalho (see above).

For further information on Dewey Canyon III, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Iraq Veterans Against the War, consult the following websites:

For information on the films, consult:

Author:  "Mark Santow"
Date:  28-Apr-2006
Department:   Educational

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