Abuse of returning soldiers

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There have been persistent stories of anti-war protesters abusing soldiers returning from Vietnam -- booing them, spitting on them, and worse. Although these stories were long accepted as truth by many people, those who have researched the question have not been able to find any eyewitnesses to any such event, and believe that they are a complete fabrication.


Given the widespread antipathy to both the Vietnam and Iraq wars, it would be remarkable if there had been no such incidents. It seems likely that this did in fact occur, but that it was nowhere near as widespread as was later claimed. The smattering of evidence currently available cannot be used as blanket condemnation of "hippies", pacifists, protesters, etc. given that any loosely-affiliated group will have a few members who behave badly.


The following incidents have been reported but not verified:

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

NYT, 2007-01-28

I was spit on, had coffee spilled on me, and recieved very hostile stares and rude comments like "baby killer" said to me. Some of those who were with us actually had their "awol" bags ripped from their hands. "Awol" bag was a name given to a small gym bag sized carry on that we used at the time.

2007-02-01 forum post by user "Bombfixer"

My dad returned from Vietnam in November of 1966 on emergency--his mother was dying. He said he landed in San Francisco, and as he was going through the airport to catch a flight back to St. Louis, a woman spit on him.

2007-02-01 forum post by user "Magdalene"


  • 2006-12-21 Does anyone have any information about the demonstrations OSC mentions here? If they actually took place as described, then they're dispicable – but we heard much the same about Vietnam soldiers being spat at, and my understanding is that that was later revealed to be propaganda and not something that actually happened. ("The anti-war sentiments gave reason to those that believed returning soldiers were 'spat on' or otherwise abused." is all I can find in Wikipedia.)
    • The documentary "Sir! No Sir! [W]" examines the anti-war activites of American GIs during the Vietnam war period, has an interview where the spitting on GIs at airports is repudiated as fabrication. The person being interviewed had done research and published a book or article on exactly this topic. What worries me about Orson Scott Card's article regarding the egg throwing is that he has not talked to the family directly rather someone (the soldier on the plane) who knows someone (the brother of the soldier that died). Nor does he supplies the names of the soldiers, so fact checking could be done. It more diligence on his part would confirm these events. Jsrrts 17:43, 13 March 2007 (EDT)



  • Snopes does not appear to have an article about this, although there is a forum thread started in 2007

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