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Wayne Smith USA VVAW
Vietnam Reconciliation Advocate. A “soul brother from Providence,” VVAW, and combat medic, in 1969 and ’70. With no progress on the ground, what was the purpose of the war. Was Hanoi the enemy? “We did everything we could to avoid combat. As a medic, I often signed sick notes and other kinds of medical excuses. . . . Politicians got us into a war we never should have been in,” he said of Vietnam. “But I believe we who were there did our duty.” At home, Smith “drove out past protesters,” to “San Francisco Airport in uniform. Not a single person welcomed him, or even made eye contact. A few seemed to have contempt. Smith headed to a bathroom to take off his uniform. And found the garbage cans stuffed with others.” In a drug argument, a gun went off and he spent three years in prison. He later earned a psychology degree, and became a veterans counselor. He was active in Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and was President, Black Patriots Memorial Foundation. During 1998, he and 20 others joined former North Vietnamese soldiers and drove 1,200 miles from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City to raise money for the Bach Mai Hospital, a sinkhole for leftist American money. He has been described, as a Vietnam Veteran leading “normalization of relations with Vietnam, justice for veterans, and peace.” Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviewed Smith in 2015 at an antiwar reunion. “Ron Dellums, Pat Schroeder, Tom Hayden. I truly am humbled.” Smith endorsed the Daily People’s protest campaign for jobs, peace, equality, and justice.
- See: Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. Amy Goodman. https://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/25/i_never_wanted_to_hurt_any; Peoples Teach-in on the Vietnam War (March 28): Chomsky on the Pentagon’s New Version of History , 03/24/2015 http://justicewithpeace.org/vietnam-teachin