Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. Clips of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War from "Four More Years" by TVTV. The Veterans, led by Ron Kovic, were protesting the war in Miami Beach in conjunction with the 1972 Republican National Convention.
00:00Copy video clip URL “Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” Shot opens on Ron Kovic, a handicapped Vietnam veteran and activist, being helped into his car from his wheelchair. “I joined the Marine Corps in 1964, and I felt that I had an obligation to serve my country at the time. I felt that – I was really gungho – I felt like I was doing the right thing. I was for Goldwater in ’64. And when I went to ‘Nam, I began to see Napalm babies, began to see United States’ genocidal policy in Vietnam, the fact that we were murdering civilians, babies. Then I spent seventeen months in the Veterans Administration Hospital, and I saw men who were twisted and crippled by the war, men who had lost their legs and arms, paraplegics, quadraplegics. I saw Nixon cut back $100 million in expenditures to the V.A. hospital system, and completely forget about the veterans who came back from the war.”
01:29Copy video clip URL Holding an upside-down American flag, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War march down the street, facing off with a line of police.
02:03Copy video clip URL Having blockaded the entrance to the Convention Center, police refuse a Congressman admission until he shows his identification. “You really don’t know who I am?”
02:34Copy video clip URL Vietnam veterans talk to the Congressman about treatment of returned veterans in the US. “You’ve got a government that fears you, if you can believe that. The police don’t fear you… most of those guys fought in Vietnam, they’re just as decent as you guys.” Ron Kovic complains that he’s been arrested several times for protesting the war, despite his large sacrifice he made to his country.
03:27Copy video clip URL A WWII veteran, watching the protesters, complains about their actions. He claims that these particular soldiers must have been “all hopped up on drugs” in Vietnam. “How many guys got killed because these guys were hopped up?… What were these guys doing? They were nothing in the army… They weren’t protecting the guy next to them. They were flying. So they weren’t doing a goddamn thing.” He shows off his war injuries and claims to have accepted his injuries without blaming anyone. Hudson Marquez asks, “Don’t you think there could be a time when there aren’t going to be any more wars?” “No, that’ll never come in nobody’s lifetime.”
04:50Copy video clip URL A group of middle-aged women watch the protest and complain about the disrespectfulness of the Veteran protesters. “I think it’s awful. I really do.” “I’m not for it also. My son was in Vietnam, and if he can come home and go along with the establishment, I’m sure they can too.” “Especially when they fly the flag of the enemy.” Maureen Orth asks, “Have you talked to these people to find out what their issues are at all?” “We understand a lot aren’t from Vietnam… They’re just here with the group, but they’re not really Vietnam Veterans.” “Do you feel they have the right to dissent?” “Definitely. Of course. That’s the American Way…. But it’s rather treasonable to fly the enemy’s flag.” Later, one of the women says that she doesn’t believe that the protesters pose any physical threat to women, but another woman disagrees. “I think they have an ulterior motive when they do this. I realize they’re dissenting and they have a perfect right to dissent, but I have a feeling that they are looking for confrontation with the police. They are absolutely looking for it…. They are aimless creatures.”
06:48Copy video clip URL Maureen Orth interviews a senior citizen. “I belong to a generation that is the most patriotic group in the whole United States. If the 30 million older people – over 60 years of age – in this country would get together and stand up and bear witness to the values and standards by which they’ve lived and which made this country great, we wouldn’t have this kind of nonsense going on.”
07:15Copy video clip URL Several jumpy zooms out on the Convention Center mark the transition away from the street protest.
07:31Copy video clip URL Maureen Orth catches up with Henry Kissinger leaving a party and asks him whether, if the polls show Nixon winning in a landslide, if they would start surprise peace negotiations before the election. “We don’t care what we are doing to domestic politics. I think that we’ll be moving at whatever pace we’ve established.” “How come it has taken four years to bring peace in Vietnam? “Because it’s a very complex problem and it doesn’t depend only on us.” “Are you having a good time here?” “Very good time.” “How are the girls?” Slyly: “They’re very pleasant.”
08:30Copy video clip URL The camera moves down a line of eerily silent, dead-eyed, ghoulishly painted protesters while a fiddler and drummer march down the line playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
09:56Copy video clip URL On the Delegates’ Bus. A man passes around a petition to “prosecute Jane Fonda to the fullest extent of the law for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” “Jane Fonda? Oh! Where’s your pencil? They really should…[laughs].” “With pleasure!!!”
11:04Copy video clip URL Button fades in and out: “McGovern for President of North Vietnam.”
11:09Copy video clip URL Back in the convention center, Ray Bloch & His Orchestra rehearse for the ceremony.
12:00Copy video clip URL Out on the streets. Anti-Nixon protesters plan a nonviolent sit-down to keep the delegates from entering the building at the 17th street gate.
12:20Copy video clip URL At the entrance, the delegates are alarmed by the security guard’s warnings to hurry up and get inside before they gas the protesters. “Calm and easy, slow and easy… There’s plenty of time, nothing to worry about.”
13:05Copy video clip URL Douglas Kiker advises the TVTV crew about how to deal with Tear Gas. “Never wash your face or your eyes with water… Apple vinegar… And also take a handkerchief and wet it with it and hold it like this [over your mouth]… Makes a world of difference.”
13:39Copy video clip URL Outside the convention hall, Girl Scouts holding flags rush to get in, seemly in a panic.
13:45Copy video clip URL Inside, a group of Southern delegates indignantly complain to reporters about the violence of the anti-Nixon protesters. “No difference at all if you are a lady or a man. They come right in regardless of who it was. Throwing eggs and everything… Right now they are essentially non-violent. But they are in a mood where they can turn violent just that quick.”
14:23Copy video clip URL Some very young delegates seem even more outraged. “They don’t have any right to do this. And I think they should just take the National Guard and just turn it loose on them right now. That’s what they’re here for, isn’t it?” “We might end up with something akin to Kent State on a larger scale. But it would be worth it.”
14:52Copy video clip URL Back to the same Southern delegates. “The troops should be brought in right now and they should be quieted down and moved off the streets.” A particularly nebbish-looking man in a bow tie quivers that “people need to be protected, so that we can leave here without fear of our lives… If that’s any indication of the violence that they want to achieve, then God help the people that are still outside.”
15:23Copy video clip URL Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts continue to run into the convention hall with their flags, upon the insistence of the security guard.
15:58Copy video clip URL Protesters stand outside gates while the “Star Spangled Banner” is played on a bugle.
16:20Copy video clip URL Cut straight into the same phrase of the “Star Spangled Banner” being sung inside the convention hall by some bright-faced young singers onstage.
16:50Copy video clip URL The song ends, and the camera cuts to Ronald Reagan applauding from the audience. Reagan makes his way through the crowd, shaking hands and being congratulated by supporters.
17:54Copy video clip URL The official nomination of Richard Nixon is announced, camera shows Pat Nixon and daughters applauding.
18:08Copy video clip URL Richard Nixon accepts nomination from the podium. Button: “Nixon’s the One!”
18:31Copy video clip URL As the crowd applauds, the camera cuts to Ron Kovic (somehow inside the convention). In tight close-up he shouts to the podium, “Stop the bombing! Stop killing! Stop the war!” The camera turns in circles showing the large groups of security sent to deal with the protesters’ presence, and back around to Kovic who slumps in his wheelchair with his head in his hands. He sits up and whispers almost to himself, “Tell the truth to the American people.” The camera barely picks up the whisper amid the noise of nearby delegates applauding. Other Vietnam veterans begin to yell again and Kovic, framed in an extremely tight close-up, looks directly into the camera lens and loudly says, “Stop killing. Stop killing human beings.”
19:38Copy video clip URL The celebration on the podium continues uproariously. Kissinger poses with an applauding child in a suit.
19:49Copy video clip URL Celebratory balloons fall from ceiling. The previously meek Southern delegates pop them with surprising intensity and vigor.
20:55Copy video clip URL Camera tracks out of empty convention hall over chants of “Four More Years.” Camera pulls out of television for closing credits.