Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. A documentary shot at the Veterans' Day Parade in Chicago on June 19, 1986. Videomaker Denis Mueller interviews Vietnam vets who have been scarred by their experiences in the war and are now ardent anti-war activists, and are opposed to many policies of Ronald Reagan's administration. A highlight comes when Barry Romo, one of the founders of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, speaks to high schoolers about the gruesome realities of fighting in a war.
00:00Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.
00:04Copy video clip URL “I Would Never Do That Again” by Denis Mueller. Short clips of Veterans at the Parade speaking about their experiences in Vietnam and whether or not they would fight again, or let their children fight. “I did 27 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 11 hours, 38 minutes, and 43 seconds over there. I got 14 holes in me that I cannot explain to my child. Okay?”
02:50Copy video clip URL Overhead shots of the parade.
04:40Copy video clip URL “I’m marching for people in this city who don’t have jobs, or medical care, or recognition, who in fact, have bore the brunt of this war for the politicians.”
04:54Copy video clip URL Barry Romo of Vietnam Veterans Against The War speaks at a high school, urging the students not to buy the propaganda given out by the U.S. military recruiters.
06:19Copy video clip URL Romo: “I discovered that I wasn’t in Vietnam for that child’s life, I was in Vietnam so that I could protect rubber trees that belonged to Michelin so that someone could have cheaper tires on their new Oldsmobile. That didn’t quite make sense to me… the sap in that tree was worth tens more than that child’s life. And that didn’t make sense to me.”
07:45Copy video clip URL Romo talks about his nephew that died while serving in Vietnam, how he returned home with the body, left the service, and eventually joined with the Vietnam Veterans Against The War.
09:40Copy video clip URL Romo talks about Vets suffering from the effects of Agent Orange after returning home. “At this point what Vietnam vets had discovered is if they weren’t killed in Vietnam they had a good chance of coming home and still dying from service in Vietnam.”
11:30Copy video clip URL “So what does this have to do with you? Presently there is another situation in Central America and the Middle East that’s an awful lot like Vietnam.”
12:20Copy video clip URL Students ask Romo questions. He describes his experience after being told that his nephew was killed. “I tried to extend in Vietnam, because I had to go kill somebody, I had to get release. I had some very dear friends that threatened to break my fingers… I was back in the states within 24 hours.”
14:45Copy video clip URL “It was real hard to admit that my nephew had died for nothing,that the people I was in a unit with… and I’ll tell you I loved the people I was in a platoon with in Vietnam more than I loved my mother, my father, and and anybody. We lived together 24 hours a day in the jungle, getting shot at and saving each other’s life, and there wasn’t such a thing as color, and their wasn’t such a thing as nationality, there wasn’t such a thing as discrimination. And what I realized was that all those guys I was so close to had died so that someone else could make a buck. And I had killed other human beings so that someone else could make a buck.”
16:30Copy video clip URL “They took me at 18 and pumped me full with John Wayne just like they’re pumping you full of Chuck Norris and Rambo and every other asshole, who when they were my age, weren’t in the service. At age 18 I thought, the president wouldn’t lie to me, congress wouldn’t lie, TV wouldn’t lie.”
19:00Copy video clip URL Interview with three Veterans who claim they have “no regrets” about fighting in Vietnam. “Because these colors don’t run,” one veteran who had been through both Korea and Vietnam repeats. When asked if he has anything to say to America’s youth, “Believe in America because it’s the greatest country going, it’s the only country going. And dammit when they call you to fight, you better get your buns out there and fight.”
19:50Copy video clip URL A man who overheard the veterans with no regrets, talks about why he would never do it again. “I will not do it again for the simple fact that I have no reason why I did it in the first place. I’m not saying I wouldn’t defend the country, but I would not do THAT again.” The two men then begin to argue, with one continuously repeating, “I will not do THAT again.”
22:20Copy video clip URL A vet who served three years in Vietnam speaks. “The kind of position we were in in Vietnam, which we did not know about at the time, is the same kind of position being formulated by the Reagan administration in Central America. Most of the Veterans out here today would not volunteer to go to Nicaragua to kill other poor people… Vietnam Veterans have been exploited for all these years, we have not had a credible voice… once we were used up we were discarded.”
25:09Copy video clip URL Credits run. Barry Romo speaks in voiceover about Vietnam Veterans throwing their medals away in protest.
26:01Copy video clip URL Image Union end credits.