Waging Peace: Vietnam’s anti-war exhibition brings GIs and Viet Cong together
US anti-war protesters will travel to Ho Chi Minh city for an exhibition that will remind people they were far from a fringe element
Susan Schnall still remembers the shrieks of Vietnam veterans that would ring out at Oak Knell naval hospital throughout the night, as men some not yet 20 grappled with the agony of their injuries and the terrible flashbacks of war.
It was these screams, and finding herself a 25-year-old navy nurse part of an unconscionable military machine that fixed men up only to send them straight back into bloody battle, that drove her to one of the great acts of anti-Vietnam war defiance.
In 1968, Schnall hired a small plane with a pilot friend and showered 20,000 flyers over five army bases San Franscico, including the docked warship the USS Ranger, urging GIs to join an anti-war demonstration two days later.
I knew that the airforce was dropping flyers on the Vietnamese urging them to get away from the bombing and the spraying of agent orange, and I thought, if the United States can do that there, why cant we do that here? said Schnall. Her anti-war statement, like so many that came after it, did not come without sacrifice. She was court martialled and sentenced to six months hard labour though in the end never served her sentence.