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September 12, 2004

Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry

It was a pretty day. Not too sunny since we had scattered clouds, but pretty humid. Fortunately the site had big oaks on either side, so most people congregated to the sides in the shade. I got there right at 2pm, the scheduled start time, and someone (never did get his name) was singing a patriotic folk-style song which was probably written for this occasion. It took a few jabs at Kerry, as I recall.

Vietnam Vets for Truth Rally

I was juggling Tour of Duty (I go nowhere without a book!), my new Canon A75, and a tiny notepad for notes. I wandered around a lot, checking out the crowd, looking for good pictures, while I listened to the speakers. There were about ten. Ex-SEAL Captain Larry Bailey (spellings are all guesses at this point) was master of ceremonies. Included in the lineup were ex-POW Jim Warner, Swiftie John O'Neill, B.G. Burkett, author of Stolen Valor, CIA vet Rodrigo Diaz, Captain in the Army Nurse Corps Donna Roe, and Steve Pitkin, the Vietnam Veteran who was strongarmed into lying at the Winter Soldier hearings. Some of these folks are truly great speakers. Those of us following the Swift Veterans for Truth know that John O'Neill is. Donna Roe was great too. And Larry Bailey takes a back seat to no one. All of them were good.

The stories they told ranged from Warner's story of how John Kerry's VVAW activities affected him directly while he was in a Hanoi POW camp, through the experiences of the daughter of "Black Bart," Major Roger Bartholomew of the 2/20th ARA Battalion, whose name is etched into the black wall, to The Kathleen Story, told by Donna Roe. They all shared a couple of things. First was their pride that they or their loved ones served in Vietnam in what they know to have been a worthy cause. As it was put in one speech, we lost that battle, but it was just one battle in the Cold War. We won the war.

The also shared disgust at the actions of John Kerry. While there were a few remarks about his medals, there were signs about "real Silver Stars" and listing much longer lists of medals, and chests heavy with medals, what inspired the boos and scattered shouts of "traitor" were the descriptions of Kerry's post-war activities. And those did not only include VVAW activities. They covered his voting record against support for the troops and his activities involving Nicaragua and Iraq.

As I was walking the several blocks form Union Station to the rally spot in front of the Capitol, I saw some Kerry/Edwards placards and a group lining up. That was the opforce. My general impression was that they were fairly young, and fairly few. I doubt there were one hundred. They marched a circuit all the way around the rally, but the Washington Police, who were very present, would not let them into the area itself. As the rally began, they passed behind the stage and there were some diffuse "Bush Lied" shouts. Those were drowned out with chants of "Kerry Lied!" and "Good men died!" whenever they occurred. The protesters just didn't have a chance. Aside from one or two stragglers, they were gone within the first half hour.

But before they left they did create a great laugh. Captain Bailey was opening with a list of things that the rally was not about. He said it was not about medals. It was not about voting records. It was not about politics. Then he asked, "So what is it about?" One of the protesters yelled "Lies!" And Bailey fired back, "You're right!" Several people shouted "Kerry's lies!" The place broke up. Then he went on, "For once these people are right! It's about lies! And it's about Truth. It's about coming together. No one gave us a parade, so we're giving ourselves a parade--paved with John Kerry." That brought cheers.

The crowd was mostly veterans or their loved ones. Most were Vietnam-era, but there were some others. Those of us who were plain-old Americans who lived thankfully on their service were the clear minority. That was expected since this was billed as an event for veterans, but it was a shame too. I wish more people would have come just to show these guys the support they rarely have gotten over the years. I'd say the crowd was around 2000, maybe a few more at peak. People were wandering in and out to some degree. It was hard to judge the crowd because of the way people spread out to take advantage of the shade. The area in front of the stand was in the sun, but it stayed pretty packed even so, since a lot of us were jockeying in and out for pictures of speakers.

A couple of things struck me about the crowd. A couple of the first guys I saw were wearing Harley leathers and looked downright tough, if older than I am. But the bulk were casually dressed in shorts or slacks, many wearing some form of anti-Kerry sign, button or badge. A lot of them had signs, some printed, others handmade.

Vietnam Vets for Truth Rally Sign

None of the material was vulgar. While some called Kerry a traitor, they gave cause, and that cause was his talks with the North Vietnamese during the war. It was not irrational. There were the typical plays on Fonda, "Not Fonda John," etc. When the crowd booed, there was anger, but it was cool, not hot. If there was hatred present it was not obvious. Three vets chanted "Girlie man" occasionally. They clearly meant it as an insult, but it had no heat. The behavior of the crowd was exemplary. The contrast to the Protest Warrior videos of their treatment by the anti-Bush crazies could not be more stark.

When a young Kerry/Edwards-sign-carrying guy slipped into the crowd, one of the vets walked calmly over and informed a Policemen. A short while later the cop returned with the Kerryite in tow, telling him he was welcome to stay, but he had to put the sign down. He could listen, but if he shouted anything disrupting that would be a problem for him. Or he could stand on the sidewalk, about 50 yards away, and hold up his sign and shout, if he liked. He left. It was obvious that he wasn't going to get a rise out of this crowd. He should be glad they were so very in control, unlike what he's probably used to. These men have experienced real confrontation.

I got a few looks because I wasn't wearing any vet paraphenalia. The looks were curious, not hostile. My pad, more than my camera, drew them. I think some wondered if I was a reporter. I guess I was, an amateur, new-media reporter. But what struck me was that these were real people. Real in that sense where I knew I could sit down with any of them over a meal and just talk. There would be no posing or posturing. What they cared about was obvious from their presence, not just from the speeches from the podium: family, neighbors, country, honor, duty.

I jotted lines from the speeches that struck me as significant. Some were applause lines, some were just notable. I'll list them here. If I know who was speaking, I'll credit them.

The wounds Kerry inflicted are more serious. They are to the heart and soul. Those wounds never go away.

Shame is the word he [Kerry] focused on. Now we're focusing it back on him for having provided aid and comfort to the enemy.

This speaker spoke about the cover of The New Soldier, John Kerry's anti-war book, and how that greatly offended them. The cover photo is of a paraody of the Iwo Jima memorial; several anti-war demonstrators are raising an upside-down U.S. flag. This book was brought on stage as a prop later, by John O'Neill, who held it up to punctuate his talk. As is so often the case, John Kerry's own words are his greatest enemies.

B.G. Burkett talked to the false credentials of so many in the anti-war left. One prominent name was that of Dan Rather. I could not take notes fast enough, so that bears some research. As I recall, Rather claimed to have served in the Marines, I think two tours. It seems he served for 4 months and was kicked out. I expect Stolen Valor has details. He tied this to the dispatch with which Kerry got himself out of Vietnam. Many of these people see Kerry's departure after three Purple Hearts for very minor wounds as a form of legal abandonment of his crew and fellow Swifties. It was not wrong, legally, but it broke the code of duty, honor, country.

He wants us to stand up and be loyal to him? Hell no! He doesn't know the meaning of loyalty! Now we're going to take the war to him!
--B.G. Burkett

We were the sons and daughters of the greatest generation.
--Donna Roe

I even saw them save babies.
--Donna Roe

And here she inserted the wonderful story of the Montagnard baby girl, saved from a village the Viet Cong had wiped out. The baby she herself named "Kathleen" when the baby girl arrived at Roe's hospital and they fought to save her life. That Kathleen was adopted and now has her own family here in the U.S. The story is told in In the Shadow of the Blade.
I'm proud to be a Vietnam Vet that served a whole twelve months!
--Donna Roe
Jim Warner spoke of this experiences as a POW for five years. He mentioned that they had been tortured, but gave no details, as is the norm for these true heros. The anecdote he spoke of was how he was interrogated and presented with a cardboard storyboard on which a magazine article had been posted. It spoke of Winter Soldier hearings in Detroit, and his mother was quoted saying normal concerned mother things. She had not heard from him. She only knew he was a prisoner. As he put it, the North Vietnamese "hadn't gotten around to letting me write a letter." In four years. They showed him another storyboard and this one contained testimony by a Lieutenant JG John Kerry, who said they were all guilty of committing atrocities, they were all war criminals. Warner didn't know what would result. His captors told him with that as evidence they could try him and find him guilty of war crimes. As he put it, communist courts are not American courts. They don't have the same standards.

He pointed out that John Kerry had been through SERE training, that he was trained to know what the POW experience might mean. Yet he endangered his fellow servicemen who were in captivity by telling his lies. Warner also pounded on the theme that after the overwhelming defeat of the communists at Tet, the communists were lost. That is, they would have been except Ho Chi Mihn saw their salvation in the budding anti-war movement. The battlefield moved from Vietnam to America and Paris. All they needed was a holding action in Vietnam; the real fight would be led by others, including John Kerry.

The first thing you need [in war] is a commander with sound judgment and steadfast character. This is something I'd like you to go away from here with seared seared into your memory. You'll know he has sound judgment if he know the best way to stop a war against an evil enemy is to win it!
--Jim Warner

Leave John Kerry in command of the largest vessel he has ever competently handled--his surfboard.
--John O'Neill

We need a leader, not a weathervane.
--John O'Neill

It was interesting that the ABB crowd does have a counterpart here. This was an ABK crowd. I don't think I heard Bush's name once from the speakers, nor from the crowd. Many in the crowd had W pins, or wore Bush 04 on something, but they were a minority. The emphasis was very much on making plain that John Kerry was not a suitable leader for the United States military. It is summed up well thus: our young men and women fighting now in Afghanistan and Iraq deserve our best commander. That would not be John Kerry.

(I'll tuck the other pictures onto another archive page to save loading them everytime someone hits the front page.)

Update: Instapundit just happened to have a link to the info on Dan Rather's inflation of his military record. Newmax had an article on it based on Stolen Valor and Bernard Goldberg's Bias. I've read the latter and now that I see this do remember reading something about it there.

Update: Here's what the, erm, competition says about the rally. This is from AP (with a hat tip to kerryhaters).

Update: Powerline has a post on the speech by "Black Bart's" daughter, Laura Bartholomew Armstrong. I couldn't take notes fast enough (I was trying to get a picture at the same time). I do remember the line about attacking the war without attacking the warriors that deacon at Powerline mentions. She also told a great story about a man whose life her dad saved. That man, Rick Rescorla, went on to work in the towers as security chief for Morgan Stanley. He was there on September 11, 2001 and was responsible for the evacuation of over 3000 people. He was still trying for a few more when the one he was in collapsed. (Big Trunk has a post on this too.) The point of her story was that by her dad's actions way back in Vietnam, people were saved here three years ago. I'd add: and by John Kerry's actions, more than 3 million died when Vietnam dominoed Laos and Cambodia. An article of hers published WSJ is also available here.

Update: Ohoh, my first Instalanche. Hope my bandwidth can handle it! Welcome, everyone!

Update: One of the commentors asked about reruns. I can't answer that, but mention was made of making a video of the event available. A lot of interest was expressed by addendees, so I suggest watching KerryLied.com for details.

Posted by dan at September 12, 2004 06:25 PM | TrackBack

You did a great job capturing what I watched on C-SPAN. It was very emotional for me and I am still amazed that after all these years how deep the emotion goes.

Wonderful tribute to our Vietnam veterans.

Welcome Home, Veterans. You will have your parade.

Posted by: kathy at September 12, 2004 09:42 PM

Thank you for posting the story...

The Rally in DC today was wonderful.
Even kepted me away from the Football.
A true Miracle for sure.

AMAZING, the DNC has embraced another fraud. KERRY is simply another unethical liar. The Clinton Legacy of ugly 'self interest' repeated all over again.

The Democratic Party is in deep trouble.

Posted by: William at September 12, 2004 10:48 PM

Great piece. Thanks. Did a little live blogging on my spot while watching C-SPAN. One of the funniest comments was from O'Neill, re not letting Kerry become Commander-in-Chief "Leave John Kerry in charge of the biggest vessel he has safely commanded - his surfboard." Cold.

Posted by: Shawn at September 12, 2004 10:51 PM

I too watched all afternoon and was very impressed by the speeches and the civility of the crowd. I write as someone who was against the war then, but have since reconsidered and regret my earlier position. I never denigrated the soldiers and I'm proud to watch their welcome home party. I'm in complete solidarity with you now.

Posted by: Jille at September 12, 2004 11:00 PM

Thanks for the report, Dan. Link incoming!

Posted by: Pat Curley at September 12, 2004 11:23 PM

Thanks for the comments on the rally today.
I watched every minute and as I know it is the
truth it is so powerful.
Tears, laughs, and anger all in a few hours.
These people are real, honest and looking out for
their country at a time when there seems to be
no-one else who is willing to break the silence
on this man's out and out lies?
Vote for Bush, it is the only way to go!
Thanks again. It was so nice to see your article.

Posted by: Carole at September 12, 2004 11:51 PM

I was messmerized for the entire afternoon watching how sincere and composed the participants and guests were. Just another reason to be proud of them along with their service to our country. What patriots!!! I personally have no veteran connections however, that did not stop me from feeling strong emotions and respect for their cause. Is this going to be rerun so one can tape it?

Posted by: Donna at September 12, 2004 11:58 PM

Fabulous post, Dan! Thanks for linking it in my blog's comments; I've also linked and pinged it in text in my last post tonight.

Wish I coulda been there, but I listened (and sometimes watched) via the C-SPAN streaming internet link. (I started feeling ill after the rally ended and couldn't figure out why -- then realized C-SPAN was broadcasting the pre-rally/op-rally with a parade of ... umm ... citizens bashing Dubya's Guard Service, the Iraq War, etc. Freed up a lot of bandwidth by clicking that window shut.)

Posted by: Beldar at September 13, 2004 02:32 AM

Thanks to all the wonderful veterans at this rally and throughout the country. When shall we have the parade? It is long overdue. Thank you to all who have served and SERVE RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: Nancy O'Shea at September 13, 2004 02:44 AM

Why was none of this in the print or broadcast news?

(Rhetorical question, I know the answer)

Posted by: OldSpook at September 13, 2004 03:15 AM

Thanks for the reporting.

You can read the book john Kerry wrote and John O'Neill mentioned THE NEW SOLDIER here online for free

You can also see the cover: damn hippies with an upside down US flag mocking Iwo Jima.

Posted by: EL Box at September 13, 2004 05:38 AM

Fine Post.
Kerry's Lies include him being a Phony Hero, and the PC Leftist Press being a pimp for his untrue idea.

The untrue idea that American Soldiers, by policy, are occupiers instead of liberators. Even when, as in S. Vietnam, the politics forced them to act like occupiers, the goal was always to be liberators.

Kerry's Lie helped create the PC Lie: that it was morally superior to leave SE Asia -- that Peace (and Genocide) was morally better than fighting evil.
See http://tomgrey.motime.com/1094471473#335172

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 13, 2004 05:45 AM

Put semen on a picture of Kerry, mixed with the blood of North Vietnamese virgin. This will ensure his daughters have bad luck in life.

Posted by: floyd at September 13, 2004 05:47 AM

I find it interesting that there are women who served a full 12 month tour in Viet Nam and even 2 and 3 tours while John Kerry ran out after 4 months. I believe the reason he has the same medals signed by different commanders at different times is because he threw the original medals away as we all saw him do for the media, then when it was to his advantage to have them displayed on his wall he requested them to be reissued. His hypocrisy is evident to anyone with half a brain: he served four months and was a "hero" while the men and women who served a year, two or even three were baby killers, rapists and war criminals.

Posted by: Hal at September 13, 2004 07:07 AM

You know I just want to know one thing from everyboby over 50. On which side of America did you stand on after Kent State Univerity in 1971?

Everybody else watch All in the Family one time than ask your parents about 4 died in Ohio.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 13, 2004 07:26 AM

Great reporting and commentary. Thanks for the good work. I avoid AP/Reuters like the plague, so if it were not for you and Glenn, I would not have known this rally had even occured until many days later. Now I can send the link to others.

Posted by: Sergio at September 13, 2004 08:00 AM

I'm proud of your reporting and stand with you.

Posted by: Mom at September 13, 2004 08:34 AM

My wife, who was taking care of our children while I spent two tours in Vietnam, and I were at the rally. Great report on the event, thank you. Many old warriors who were at the rally remember a time when we served with honor while John Kerry stuck a label of “war criminals” on us that continues to this day. It is time he be held accountable – my son is on active duty, and I can’t stand the idea that John Kerry could become his commander in chief.

Posted by: Jack at September 13, 2004 09:23 AM

You noted you needed to look up the information on Dan Rather. I have that information handy, as well as on CBS.

On Dan Rather's military time. Some cut and paste if you will.

Dan Rather has described himself as a Marine. In the book "Bias" he is quoted as having enlisted in the Marines twice. Of course ultimately, that quote becomes Rather's word against the author's, but please note that Rather does describe himself as a Marine.

From a book review of "Semper Fi"
Great Reviews for Semper Fi "This reporter has seen Marines leading the way from Danang to Kuwait and every dateline in-between: I’ve also seen ex-Marines leading the way in offices and boardrooms across America. Semper Fi tells it like it is, with a point-by-point analysis of what makes a Marine a leader—in and out of the Corps. This is NOT one of those mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-philosophical books on leadership that try to make blue look like orange, and are of no use to anybody but their authors’ accountants. Semper Fi is a book you will actually USE, read, and refer to again and again. Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh remind me that I might actually have made something out of myself if my own Marine career (brief, undistinguished) had lasted longer."—Dan Rather

Brief and undistinguished is a bit of an understatement. The reality is this.

Dan Rather joined the Army Reserves during the Korean War, when he finished college. He stayed in the Reserves until the Korean War was over, effectively sheltering him from a draft to Korea. To hear Dan Rather now and in the past, doing guard duty in time of war is akin to being a draft dodger. After he left the Army Reserves he went back to school and then joined the Marines. HOWEVER, he did not complete basic training. As a child he had Rheumatic fever, weakening the heart, and he could not complete the rigorous basic training Marines go through.

This sets up a couple scenes for me.
1. He prefers to call himself a Marine because Marines are looked at as the toughest of the tough, an image Marines I think can rightly claim. But do you get to call yourself a Marine if you didn't get through basic?
2. He doesn't refer to himself as Army because it would bring attention to the fact he went into the guards during wartime to shield himself from possibly going to the combat theatre of Korea. If he called attention to this it would make it a bit more difficult to paint say, George Bush, with the same brush wouldn't it?

Now about Dan Rather and his smearing of Vietnam Vets. This was done in a show called "The Wall Within"

The highly hyped 1988 CBS program, "The Wall Within," purporting to tackle the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a perfect example of the lies and distortions about Vietnam that have been fed to three generations of Americans. The program profiled six "Vets" who it claimed were "representative" of those who served in Vietnam. It claimed that the symptoms suffered by these men were shared by hundreds of thousands of other veterans. The Dan Rather "documentary" became part of the CBS video history series on Vietnam and is graced with a formal introduction by Walter Cronkite.
This is how Dan Rather introduced his TV audience to one of his prize victims: "At age 16, Steve was a Navy SEAL, trained to assassinate. For almost two years, he operated behind enemy lines, then he broke. He came home in a straightjacket, addicted to alcohol and drugs."

According to the CBS propaganda piece, "Steve" had been trained to massacre and mutilate Vietnamese civilians and then blame the atrocities on the Communists. "You’re telling me that you went into the village, killed people, burned part of the village, then made it appear that the other side had done this?" Rather asked. "Yeah," Steve responded. "For propaganda purposes at home," Rather added. "That’s correct," Steve confirmed.

Terry Bradley, another supposed Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD, told a grisly tale of having, on one occasion, skinned alive up to 50 Vietnamese men, women and children. He told of cutting out hearts and eyeballs, of mangling and stacking their bloody bodies. The CBS program showed the mentally tormented vet at night in a dark forest howling at the sky.

Another PTSD victim, George Greul, told the CBS team that he had been traumatized by witnessing his friend’s gruesome death on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier while the ship was on a "secret mission" off the coast of Vietnam. He had seen his buddy accidentally walk into a spinning propeller blade and had been spattered with his blood.

The critically acclaimed "Wall Within" was a colossal fraud. The man identified as "Steve" turned out to be one Steve Southards, and through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Burkett obtained his military records. The truth, he found, was that "Southards was not a SEAL, nor had he taken any SEAL training.... In reality, Southards was an ‘internal communications repairman,’ assigned to rear area bases and had no combat decorations. His only special training was a ‘motion picture operation course (16mm),’ at Subic Bay in the Philippines." What’s more, he had spent time in the brig for going AWOL six times. According to Burkett’s research, "Little that Southards had told Rather was true except that he had been in the Navy, and that his first name was Steve."

Terry Bradley was not a "fighting sergeant," as Dan Rather had described him, but another storytelling misfit who had spent 300 days either AWOL or in the stockade. No evidence was provided by CBS, and Burkett could find none either, from official sources or otherwise, to verify Bradley’s tales of mass atrocities.

George Greul’s carrier, the Ticonderoga, was deployed on a training mission off the coast of California, not a "secret mission" off the coast of Vietnam, when the fatal propeller accident he referred to took place. But Greul was not present when the accident happened; he was merely repeating what he had heard. However, his story had convinced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that he had been sufficiently traumatized to receive a couple thousand.

It seems to me that right now, and the issues raised in the current Presidental Campaign, the time is right to note not only the issues with CBS and Dan Rather are now, but what they were in the past. It all ties together, particularly the myths of atrocities told by those who WERE NOT VIETNAM VETS, but whose stories were nonetheless given legitimacy by Guess who? John Kerry in his 1971 Senate Testimony, and by, that's right boys and girls, Dan Rather. Interesting how they both seem to come together again? And right in the middle of the same issues so many years later.

Things that make you go-HHMMMM.

Recalling from the book "Stolen Valor" 5 of the 6 vsts profiled on "The Wall Within" were frauds, and no CBS did not retract the story. Ever.

Then there is this as well, again a CBS blunder.

The story of Joe Yandle is a case in point. Yandle had admitted to being the getaway driver during a 1972 liquor-store holdup in Medford, Mass., that resulted in the murder of the store manager. Under Massachusetts law, even though Yandle did not pull the trigger, he was as complicit as the gunman. Convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison without parole, Yandle never claimed to be innocent, but contended that Vietnam had driven him to drugs and crime. 60 Minutes did a segment in which Mike Wallace told viewers that Yandle did two tours in Vietnam, and survived the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh; and that he then "came home with a Bronze Star for valor, two Purple Hearts, and something else — a heroin habit." The 60 Minutes report was instrumental in convincing then-governor William Weld to commute Yandle's life sentence to time served — 23 years. But Burkett discovered that although Yandle had indeed served in the Marines and had been honorably discharged, he had never set foot in Vietnam at all.

Thanks to Burkett's work, Yandle is now back in prison. But what is striking about his case is the predisposition of journalists to accept uncritically the claim that service in Vietnam is an explanation for criminal activity at home. How could the hard-nosed Mike Wallace and others like him be so easily taken in? Burkett's answer to this question stands as a rebuke to American journalism. It is also a rebuke to John Kerry.

The information on all of this is in "Stolen Valor"

Posted by: Red at September 13, 2004 09:36 AM


Why not state what you mean rather than a cryptic highly nuanced reference? Come out with it man; tell us how it relates to this rally and where anyone stands now, regardless of age.

Posted by: Genecis at September 13, 2004 09:45 AM


I'm going to put your comment up in a post, so it's more apt to get seen. And I'm going to read your blog when I get a chance. Looks like good work there.

And to any vets, like Jack, or guys and gals serving now in our armed forces, I don't want to say "I honor your service" or any of that political mealymouthiness, I'll stick to this:

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Posted by: Dan S at September 13, 2004 09:50 AM

I watched the whole Rally yesterday and after a few hours, my daughter came in to ask me what were these "boring old speeches"?

I explained that I felt bound to listen as long as these men and women wished to speak. My attention was the least of what they truly deserve.

Being a savvy youngster, she opined that they probably weren't on any other channel. Really made me sad she was right.

Posted by: Lark at September 13, 2004 10:16 AM

I was also against the war and, being a student of history and having a memory, have come to deeply regret that position.

I also watched ALL IN THE FAMILY and remember the turmoil surrounding the war. 4 dead in Ohio is a nice song line and political rallying cry--but millions disposed of in the advance of history is a historical fact that should never change our perception of the true war in Vietnam. And 4 dead students is not even close to 58,000 plus from Vietnam, and a 1,000 in Iraq as I write this. Anyone who plays that card better be prepared to explain how the scales are balanced.

I don't have cable so if a DVD ever comes out of the rally, I would appreciate someone letting me know.

Posted by: John F at September 13, 2004 11:23 AM

Thanks for blogging this. It makes me sad we do not see enough of this and other things that are going on.

And to all the vets out there:

God of our fathers, known of old --
Lord of our far-flung battle line --
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies --
The Captains and the Kings depart --
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away --
On dune and headland sinks the fire --
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe --
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law --
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget -- lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard --
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

---Recessional- Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: Charles E at September 13, 2004 11:35 AM

I saw the event
and heard the speakers
who lie about many things.

Posted by: nick at September 13, 2004 11:35 AM

Mr. Schlatman, I stood on the hill at Kent State. I was there. History might try to make college students dumb with revisionist history, but we are not so stupid as to now know that all that happened was not about the students but about outside aggitators (not unlike the "testimony" of the VVAW). Four died in Ohio. 55,000 died in service for Vietnam. ALL were innocent. All were children of the times. How does that clear JFKerry? In fact, that is all the more reason that his lies, his testimony, his deceit inflamed the babies that we were.

Posted by: Gail at September 13, 2004 11:53 AM


If you wish to point out specific lies, please do so. Vague allegations are, to anyone with sense, an admission that you have no facts to support your position. If you can show specific lies, they will be noted. Likewise, if anyone can show errors in what I wrote, I'll be happy to check and correct where appropriate. What I wrote was from scribbled notes and my recollections of the event. A transcript from a video will probably show I got some quotes slightly wrong, and I probably stitched some together a bit wrongly too. But I think I fairly captured the sense. I certainly tried not to remove things from context in such a way as to make them seem to say something else.

Posted by: Dan S at September 13, 2004 12:34 PM

I was at that rally, and I heard not one lie!

It is KERRY who lies about Americans in Vietnam.

ANd I was one of those who came after Vietnam, 1977-1981 (Iran, Hostage Rescue Attempt), who were spit at, had beer bottles thrown at us from cars while walking down the street, people pick fights withus, all kinds of comments, baby killer, all that...all because of Kerry and his ilk!

Posted by: RaceBannon at September 13, 2004 12:58 PM

as if 1980 you would get spit
another liar

and why would you say correct your mistakes?
I didnt say you had mistakes!
Do you know something I dont?

Lie 1 - we are not associated with GOP!

1 Donna Rowe Georgia GOP official.
2 Dexter Lehtinen GOP congressman, sposue of congressman, supporter of murderer parole.
3 Former POW lying about Kerry protesting in 1968 near the Tet offensive.
4 john oneill "I was in Cambodia too" O'neill
5 Felix Rodriguez CIA assassain "saw no atrocities in Vietnam"

Posted by: nick at September 13, 2004 01:58 PM

Im sure Lt Calley and Capt medina are glad
to know you are sticking up for them!

Mr racebannon

Posted by: nick at September 13, 2004 02:12 PM

"It is KERRY who lies about Americans in Vietnam"

what lies?

Posted by: Anders at September 13, 2004 02:22 PM


"Do you know something I dont?"
Yes, I am sure that I know many things that you don't.

As to your:
"Lie 1 - we are not associated with GOP!"

You have evidence to the contrary? Just because some present are Republicans does not prove that the organization sponsoring the event is associated with the GOP in any legal fashion. There were Democrats present. Does that mean VVFT is associated with the Democratic Party?

And asserting that people are liars does not prove that they are. Cite their words and cite the refutation of their words. I do it with Kerry all the time, so if you want examples, there are plenty elsewhere on this blog. Kerry is a terribly easy target, though, so maybe my examples won't help a lot. Most people try to be consistent, so you can't use their own words against them easily, unlike John Kerry.

Have you read Tour of Duty? Have you read the Winter Soldier site?

Posted by: Dan S at September 13, 2004 02:49 PM

I attended. Thank you for your support.


Posted by: rick at September 13, 2004 03:03 PM

I flew from Phoenix to DC for this rally. It was worth it. When is the next time Vietnam Vets will be getting together. It was very moving for me. Intrestingly, when Dan Rather's name was mentioned, the booing was as loud as that for Kerry.

The rally was handled very well. Lots of good speakers. John O'Neill is not only an outstanding speaker, he's an extremely kind man, as I saw when he was signing a book for a Vietnam widow. Larry Baily, our organizer, was a 27 year SEAL (and former head of the SEAL school at Coronado). Larry had never done a rally before, and it came off like he did them all of his life.

Our organization (Vietnam Vets for the Truth) isn't done. We have "Operation Street Corner" in process (

Posted by: John Moore at September 13, 2004 03:21 PM

I went to the rally yesterday at the Capitol Bldg.; it was great. Although I'm not a Vietnam veteran, I'm only 41 years old, my brother-in-law (also too young) and I flew up from Florida, and flew back the same day. We are both fans of President Bush, and even bigger fans, if that's possible, of the cause that our Vietnam veterans are undertaking in their quest to bring to light the Truth about Lt. jg John Forbes Kerry. I truly believe that if any "anyone but Bush"-leaning person knew the truth about Senator Kerry's past, they would soon become an "anyone but Kerry" advocate. In all seriousness, if the Dem's had chosen Joe Lieberman as their candidate, I could understand a vote for "anyone but Bush," and I wouldn't so worried about this election.

The speakers were fantastic! It really was a venting event for all vets present. As one speaker noted (paraphrase): "This is not a partisan-politic thing." True, this was not a pro-Bush rally (although it becomes one by default). This was, in all its overdue glory, an ANTI-KERRY rally. For the life of me, I don't understand how this man has made it this far for this long in the political arena.

I got home and watched some news before going to bed. I was very disappointed at Fox News's coverage. They showed one still photograph of the crowd and speaker, Captain Larry Bailey; and then one more still of the lone anti- "Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry" protester. That's right, I estimate the crowd to have been at least two thousand, and there was only ONE protester, and he made the news. Ridiculous. I couldn't hear him from where I was, but I asked someone later what he was yelling, and they said, "Bush Lied." Well, hello Mr. Protester, this is not a Pro-Bush rally. This is an anti-Kerry rally. And exactly what are you protesting? This is a Vietnam veterans rally who are speaking the truth about a documented liar; lying in front of the Senate no less. Our veterans are protesting John Kerry's personal attacks and lies upon each and every vet in that crowd; and you are protesting that? What don't you get about this? If I'm not mistaken, when John O'Neill spoke he named that protester by name, and stated that he, the protester follows him around. That's even more demented than I had originally thought. Speaking of following around, how 'bout John Kerry's "band of brothers" going to all of Kerry's stumps. Don't these guys have jobs? Or, is this their new job? Hmm.

We got to D.C. about 4 hours before the rally was scheduled to start, and checked out the sites. I had never been to D.C. before and my brother-in-law had only been once. We both especially wanted to see all of the war memorials. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of the Vietnam Wall was available for viewing. I couldn't help but think about someone making a special trip to see their loved-one's name on the Wall, touch it, and possibly etch it as well, only to find that name covered by plywood. We visited the new WWII Memorial, the Korean War and Lincoln Memorials, as well as the Washington Monument (although that was just a walk-by).

All in all, it was a great one day trip; and we both agreed - We'd do it again.

We both thanked as many vets as we met. I think that was our main reason for going: To show outside support - that they are not alone.

Thank you again Vietnam Veterans!

Posted by: JEGjr at September 13, 2004 03:43 PM

who are you replying to "do you know something..." not my quote

GOP CONGRESSMAN - that is the connection
Im not talking about plan jane voter registered voters

Im talking about the movers and shakers in GOP party!

You can try to fool vets who showed but not everyone is gullbile as them

Rodriquez set up the Phoneix program !
they were all about war crimes!

It was GOP led and funded rally!

Posted by: nick at September 13, 2004 04:12 PM

Dan, Nick is, not to put too fine a point on it, an idiot. He was probably that little twerp sitting under the tree just behind me with the Kerry sign.

He'll never make specific allegations: otherwise he might have to defend them.

No matter what you say, you will never convince him. If you start to win the argument, he'll change the subject.

It is typical of his kind that they have no problem with folks like Ben Barnes being the Vice Chair of the Kerry campaign, yet they think if a few members of a large organization are Republicans (not major players in the RNC like Harold Ickes et al) this is conclusive proof that the entire organization is a GOP front.

He probably doesn't even know that O'Neill has given far more money to the DNC than the GOP...because he never listens to anything that contradicts his preconceived notions.

Bottom line: the idea that anyone would do ANYTHING out of principle rather than partisanship is so completely foreign that it causes them to dismiss any facts you might introduce out of hand.

The other day my neighbor actually said to me, "of course you support Bush - you're in the military - that's your job." I was astounded for a second at the veiled insult, but then pointed out that we lived through 8 years of Clinton - he was also our commander in chief. We didn't like it, but we kept our mouths shut.

Never mistake that for support or approval of his actions.

You saw it, I saw it, and people like Nick can make unsubstantiated charges of "lies" all they want. They can holler and carry on.

That doesn't make it true, and he hasn't even approached meeting the burden of proof.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 13, 2004 04:19 PM

You can try to fool vets who showed but not everyone is as gullbile as them

Aside from mis-spelling 'gullible' and the inevitable grammatical errors, nick reveals the liberal mantra:

"The military are idiots".

Who else would die for their country?

nick, get a life. Please.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 13, 2004 04:22 PM

And I apologize for calling nick an idiot.

That was uncalled for. I should have confined my comments to his 'ideas'.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 13, 2004 04:25 PM


Hate to tell you this but you're as easy as John Kerry:

as if 1980 you would get spit another liar

and why would you say correct your mistakes?
I didnt say you had mistakes!
Do you know something I dont?

Lie 1 - we are not associated with GOP!

1 Donna Rowe Georgia GOP official.
2 Dexter Lehtinen GOP congressman, sposue of congressman, supporter of murderer parole.
3 Former POW lying about Kerry protesting in 1968 near the Tet offensive.
4 john oneill "I was in Cambodia too" O'neill
5 Felix Rodriguez CIA assassain "saw no atrocities in Vietnam"

Posted by nick at September 13, 2004 01:58 PM

(you can read up a few comments and verify that someone named "nick" did indeed post that...what's more, I have evidence here that they all came from the same IP address.)

And you seem to not understand the difference between making assertions and substantiating those assertions with facts, turning them into actual arguments that others might consider.

Discussion and rational argumentation are welcome. Unsubstantiated assertion is not.


I suspect that "nick" is indeed that guy. I listened in to his conversation with a couple of cops. Not that he did much talking.

Posted by: Dan S at September 13, 2004 04:28 PM

Genecis, read Gail's remarks at 11:53 first than read my reply to him.

My 8th grade teacher was one of the N.G.'s that was there on the ground. I am old enough to remember those days very well. From Ohio myself, I have always supported the defense of this nation and our troops. However, it's the management of our country I find myself at odds with sometimes.

Yes, prior to that May America was innocent in our belief that our political leaders had some brians. That they were doing what was right for our country. However, watching the evening news every night showed a whole different world that we lived in. Congressional Hearings, Reports, and corruption was in almost every story. Pictures showing our troops in action being wounded and shooting, tells from local boys telling how screwed up the war was going, and the political leaders and parents trying to blame the children because they would not believe the lies they was being told. Yes, I remember those days well.

Kent State was the straw that Awakened America. Due to the fact that Nixon had threatened to send in federal troops if Governer Rhodes of Ohio would not order his N.G. units onto the campus put the whole inciddent on national center stage. How could we allow our government to use our troops to shoot our citizens because they disagreed with the Establishment. Everyone one was wrong, the tension that followed that day held all of us at bay. Kerry and alot of other vets from all wars both for and against the war realized that this nation could not stand divided. Calling for calm throughout the land they decided to walk on the White House and Congress to ask for an answer. Nixon's administration backed off their stance, the federal troops that protect DC withdrew, and the solders of this land showed our politicans of the time that We the People rule this land not them.

Was things srewed up back than? Absolutely! Did our American Society survive the brink of civil war? Just barely. Why does Kerry and other leaders from all sides of the issues deserve a break? It was the promise you all made to your childrens' children.

35 years ago your generation promised to work together to build a better world. My question to you and all others is simple;

Have we built the best world we can for our childrens' children?

Remember, a person is only as good as their word.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 13, 2004 04:30 PM

The most powerful speaker, to me, was Steve Pitkin, the man who apologized. Even if you take in the rest of the speakers as 'liars' [I don't], his was most affecting & revealing about those days & Kerry's character.

Posted by: urthshu at September 13, 2004 04:31 PM

DUH -Ben barnes is a formet Democrat LEgislator
in Texas, that is well known there, in hte new because involvement in story of Bush not showing up for drill, and he is titular vice chair only unlike trying to foist off most of those speakers as concerned citizens!

DUH again - o'neill gave to dems because thats what lawywers in texas did to get business
I know GOP lawyers in texas

And height of hutzpah is Dexter playing part of wounded Vet while he is a gop official who hangs with Bush in Florida!
(not to mention screwing up miami US attorney office)

of course none of you are smart enough to know about Dexters wife!

so you say unsubstaniated! HA

everything I posted about their affiliation is true!
and since I just posted here how can you say I change subject!

and I dont care to correct my typos, not spelling , mistakes

and they were acting out of partisanship becauses like the Tarantula, thats their nature!

and Im in colorado all this week you stupid idiot!

and air force veteran vietnam war
who doesnt hide under anon

Posted by: nick at September 13, 2004 04:48 PM

I have to address this to Nick.

First, your inability to express yourself without the need to cast anyone on the other side of the issue from yourself as not quite bright simply points to your own lack of ability to articulate an appropriate argument.

Secondly, by your own reasoning if there were people at this rally who are in some way connected to the GOP it makes this group simply a front for the GOP, then those who are in some way connected to the Democrats, like say Ben Barnes, then they too are nothing more than a front for the Dems.

Third, it is John Kerry himself who has brought us back to those days of protest and anguish so embodied by what happened at Kent State. By focusing so much on his 4 months in Vietnam instead of his 20 years as a Senator he very much brings this country back to times that were and obviously still are, incredibly contentious. By his own actions Kerry is forcing this country to refight old battles. Part of those battles are not simply what the gov't did or did not do wrong. It also includes what protestors did or did not do wrong. It is all part and parcel.

John Kerry was very active in that anti-war protesting. It is this, perhaps more than anything else, that has raised the issues that are making this election and this point in our history very contentious as well. John Kerry made sweeping accusations not only at the govn't but against every member of the armed forces. It is one thing to protest a war, it another to paint the warriars as babykillers. Later the mass media did an excellant job of painting Vietnam vets as maladjusted alcoholic, drug dealers who were likely to commit suicide or be homeless. In all one hellava sweeping indictment against more than 2 million who served in some capacity during the Vietnam war. John Kerry helped in no small measure to create an erronous image and the vets he did this to have the right to speak out against it. And to do so without simply being held out as a tool of a political party.

Whether you are willing to see it or not is beside the point as far as I am concerned, this is not simply a political issue. This is an issue in which an entire generation of warriors had their reputations so besmirched that many never told anyone in their later lives they were Vietnam Vets. It was something not to be held up and revered like the WWII vets, it was something to hide. What a shame.

Beyond this as well, is the point made earlier by someone who was ill treated in 1980. You scoff at that. However, it is worth noting that from the times of the late 60's and early 70's those who were in the military were often looked as a dupes of the govn't. Even today that bias is evident in so much of the media who seem to think that the only people who go into the military are those who are too poor to go to college, or those who are too dumb to get into a universary. Today's war protestors are also very aware of what was done to our warriors in the past, otherwise why would they make such a point of saying they are protesting the war, not the warriors? I personally don't believe them, but that is beside the point. Why would they feel the need to defend that from the get go if nothing happened in the past to make them say such a thing?

In the end, it is likely I am addressing this to someone who be unable to take a full and complete look at all of it, but it bothers me so much that the only argument you can put forth is to call decent people liars or not bright that I felt it necessary to address you. In the end, however, remember it is John Kerry himself that brought all this back. Not the GOP.

Posted by: Red at September 13, 2004 06:12 PM

You make a good point. The entire area did not want America to influence the people of that area. By the poltical leaders turning their blind eye to the problems that was happening in the area they allowed to many mistakes to be made on both sides.

America will have to wait at least an other 20 years for the real truth to be told.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 13, 2004 06:16 PM

Thanks for serving your country. I was in Germany when Iran took the hostages. Time for the BS to end, it's time for America to grow up!
I don't take sides in either parties stance. They wantabe kings and queens of this country, I have no time for your little games. I am an American able to make what I need. Now we stand here today and want to argue of rich and poor. Didn't anyone learn anything? Brother vs. brother, black vs. white, management against workers are they not the same? If our children are going to survive this century our generation must come to terms after all "We the People" are the best in the nation.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 13, 2004 06:52 PM

Wow, there's gotta be at least 12 protestors there! Amerikkka is with you!

Posted by: Cheb Khaled at September 13, 2004 08:06 PM

Did school let out early today and does your mother know you are playing with daddy's computer?
If that is the best you can do is call names...boy are you in for it...and I am sorry...but last I heard...military guys DO NOT slam thier CinC.

Posted by: Linda at September 13, 2004 09:49 PM


Don't bother replying to nick anymore. He had three strikes to engage in real discussion, and struck out. I just don't have much patience for trolls. I use it all up at work.

Posted by: Dan S at September 13, 2004 09:54 PM

"Nick" at best must be an uneducated idiot of the first rank; I don't even think that most Dimocrats are that all around STUPID. His ravings are not worth any serious comment.

Posted by: Korean Vet at September 15, 2004 06:13 PM

I was there, saw a couple thousand people and spoke with numerous Democrats who abhor Kerry. I must disclose the fact that I am not a Vietnam Veteran but I support their cause. I was twelve when kerry spoke his what is now proven fabrications, and am a product of his generation's sick "Winter Soldier" crap that was perpetuated upon this country. I also have thirty years of buried anger towards John Kerry and his putrid progressive elitist!!! I was once a Democrat, but have now seen the light. I was so worng to believe in that intolerant Democratic Party of Dishonesty.

CHEB KHALED When you mention KKK, I believe you are referring to the "BLACK-HOODED" Islamic Fascists.

Posted by: syn at September 22, 2004 01:52 PM

I saw this even on CSPAN. There was a girl named Carol Gell Crowley whose father was killed in the Ia Drang Battle. His name was Sgt. Jack Gell and his dying words were "Tell my wife I love her...".
This battle was made into a movie with Mel Gibson and Sam Elliot. Carol was a facinating speaker and the crowd was right there with her. She stood up for the truth and defending her fathers image and all those names on the wall,and those who came home. She said that she proudly defends their honor and stands up to say "NO, that is NOT the way it was" and "This man has attempeted to smear our fallen heroes and noble living, and he is unfit to lead this great Nation". She also says, "Character DOES Matter" and "It is sad that people are easily swayed and dimiss what Kerry is all about." I must admit that I was one of those until I heard these speakers. They opened my eyes to the truth.Even syndicated Radio/Columnist Joseph Farah said "I was wrong" He said "John Kerry lied" and has no moral compass whatsoever. I agree....I now see that these Vets and familes have more passion for telling the truth, and that John Kerry IS A LIAR. I was in tears as Ms. Crowley read her poem, and if anyone has a copy, please post it. I applaud each of you who spoke, and I urge others to LISTEN.

Posted by: Chris at September 27, 2004 01:16 PM

Thanks for this post. I wonder how some can begin to possibly attack the wonderful things these people did and question at all the motive. There is no motive other than to tell the truth. They were not paid to be there. They came from all over to share their stories...because they have earned the right. In the cases of Carol Crowley and Laura Bartholamew, they were was robbed of their fathers, yet intelligently adressed the crowd and spoke from their hearts. I never thought about how this might affect children whose fathers were killed. Think about it. Every single name on that Wall has at least one or more family members who still experience the loss of that war. The least we can do is honor them too,and hear what they have to say. Great job, girls! And oh yeah, I do know how some can dismiss this...They cover their ears becasue the truth hurts!
Lynn AZ

Posted by: Lynn at September 27, 2004 01:51 PM

I just found this link, and apparently Carol Crowley has written a wonderful column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I am going to try and post it below...but check THIS out...! It is compelling to say the least!


Lynn (See www.kerrylied.com)

Posted by: Lynn at September 27, 2004 01:57 PM

"Fighting Back" by Carol Gell Crowley
Many of you believe dirty politics is the motivation of Vietnam veterans speaking out in opposition to John Kerry. Let me tell you the real motivation.

In the movie “We Were Soldiers,” the story about the battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965, a young Sergeant Jack Gell cried as he died, "Tell my wife I love her . . ." and my family relived the death of my dad. He told my mother in letters that he and those he served with believed they were doing the right thing, fighting to help a sovereign nation defend its freedom.

Before the movie was filmed I heard my father’s dying words from Lt. Gen. Hal Moore (ret) and Joe Galloway, who were with him in the Valley of Death. I met Mel Gibson, who played Col. Moore in the movie, showing him family pictures and letters to help him learn the essence of these young men serving their country in a difficult time. Mel Gibson said my father was a true hero.

I remember when the movie was released witnessing the healing of men and family members who clung to this story with a new pride after decades of being vilified. Finally, they talked about it. Finally, many were proud to be a Vietnam Veteran.

And then John Kerry was nominated as a presidential candidate.

I don’t blame John Kerry for my father's death, and personally I don’t much care if he shamelessly chased after medals. But I do care that when he returned from Vietnam he gave aid and comfort to the enemy while our soldiers were still dying. I care that he smeared my father and a generation of our armed forces with false charges of war crimes while posing himself as a hero. I care that Kerry’s false charges encouraged our enemy who was pressuring our POWs in inhumane ways to confess to imaginary war crimes. I care that he went to Paris to meet with the Viet Cong in 1970 while still an officer in the Navy Reserve, returning to publicly advocate for their position and against America’s position.

So you see, this isn’t about politics. It’s about honor and betrayal and protecting our country. And for me it is deeply personal, as it is for countless vets. 39 years later, my mother still cries on Nov 14. 39 years later, we miss my father every day. 39 years later, John Kerry poses as a hero. As children of Vietnam veterans, many of us feel an unwelcome emotional strain as the arguments about what really happened in Vietnam are tugged back and forth, often by people who were not there. We deeply resent the suggestion that our fathers were war criminals as that theme inevitably seeps into the argument.

We are educated and grown. We have children of our own, some in the service. We know in our heart and soul the scars of war that will never go away. But we are not weak, and we will not be silent. I will stand with the Vietnam veterans who speak out, and the voice of my father will be heard through me.

I know the public is frustrated by the noise of conflicting stories, and many wonder how to restore tranquility to the memories of that war. Puzzled reporters seek to settle the matter by investigating precisely which account of events in Vietnam over 30 years ago are best supported by official documents.

If harmony is the goal, they're looking in the wrong place. The answer to how long this conflict will last lies in the beating hearts like mine who love our country and will never rest while John Kerry is poised to occupy the White House. We must honor our dead, those who served, and those who will die . . . and learn from those sacrifices.

As long as I have breath and John Kerry seeks the office of President, I will speak out against him. Others like me are too many to count.

While we are dismissed as dirty politics, the truth is we would be doing the very same things if Kerry were a Republican. President Bush has never had anything to do with our opposition to Kerry, and if the President makes a personal appeal to us to stop, we cannot and will not do so, because there are some things that can never be forgiven, can never be forgotten. John Kerry is one of those things.

Posted by: Lynn at September 27, 2004 02:02 PM
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