San Diego Veterans For Peace Speak Out on War!

50 years ago, American boys, most under 20 years of age, committed unspeakable acts against a civilian hamlet in Vietnam. Over 500 women, children (yes! there were babies!) and old men were slaughtered by American soldiers. Civilian “collateral damage” is a tragic cost of any war; the My Lai massacre only exemplified it at a highly public level. The San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace is named after Hugh C. Thompson, the courageous US Army helicopter pilot who landed his chopper and, along with fellow crewmen, intervened against fellow American troops to end the carnage at My Lai. Thompson reported the “incident” up the chain of command but was met with indifference and ridicule by authorities.

50 years removed from My Lai, today we see American troops in over 120 countries, with US bases in over 80. Most of these troops in our “volunteer armed forces” are Whites, Blacks, and Latinos of limited economic means. They are the ones who risk their lives to further our endless series of wars. We are embroiled in multiple wars and conflicts, and the “Doomsday Clock” has just been advanced 30 seconds closer to midnight, due to escalating tensions over possible nuclear war. Drone warfare is commonplace with mounting civilian casualties, as American warriors in Nevada routinely target and kill in places around the globe. We see weapons of war – the AR-15 rifle, used by our teenagers against each other in high schools.

As citizens, we must draw connections between our foreign war policies of the past and those of today. We must see the links causing the violent war culture bleeding into our civilian lives. Absent the military draft most people do not see the true, total costs of war. Politicians continue to over-fund the Pentagon without any dissent and then reduce spending on programs that benefit our populace. If we fail to speak out, we are complicit in the wars our government conducts in our names.

The My Lai Memorial Exhibit, by allowing you to take part in the artistic process, honors the over two million Vietnamese civilians who died in what we call the “Vietnam War” but what will forever be known in Vietnam as the “American War”. This Memorial Exhibit offers 3 interactive opportunities to dialogue, build a sculptural collage and to share your artwork and comments. You will be able to participate in a strong, anti-war response to the Pentagon’s $63 million campaign to sanitize and to glorify this unnecessary, unjust and immoral military action. The Exhibit is suitable for high school age and above.

The 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre will be March 16, 2018 and the San Diego and Chicago Chapters of the Veterans For Peace, the San Diego Peace Resource Center, and the American Friends Service Committee invite you to the following events. These issues are as important today as they were 50 years ago!

Wednesday, March 14: World Beat Center, 2100 Park Blvd, SD 92101; Display open 2PM – 9PM
Speakers Program: 7:30 PM, Dennis Stout, Barry Ladendorf

Thursday, March 15: First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, 4190 Front St, SD 92103
Display open Noon – 6 PM

Friday, March 16: First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, Display open 2PM – 9 PM
Speakers: 7:30 PM, Dennis Stout, Marjorie Cohn, Barry Ladendorf

Saturday, March 17: SD Peace Resource Center, 3850 Westgate Pl, SD 92105;
Display open 12PM – 5 PM.
Speakers: 6:30 PM, Church of the Brethren, 3850 Westgate Pl., SD 92105
Fernando Suarez del Solar, Lori Saldaña, David Valladollid

•Marjorie Cohn, Attorney, Author, Legality of War Expert, Drone Warfare Expert;
•Fernando Suarez del Solar, Anti-War Advocate, lost son in Iraq War, Guerrero Azteca Founder;
•Barry Ladendorf, Naval Officer, Attorney, past President of Vets For Peace;
•Lori Saldaña, Peace Advocate, Was President Pro-Temp and on Veterans Committee of CA Assembly;
•Dennis Stout, Photographer, Vietnam Army veteran, offers personal testimony;
•David Valladollid, Purple Heart Vietnam Vet, CEO of Parent Institute for Quality Education, CA Student Aid Comte.

For more information please contact: Gary Butterfield, garyvfp@gmail.com

To view the My Lai Memorial webpage, go to: http://mylaimemorial.org

About San Diego Veterans For Peace


National Veterans for Peace Organization

National Veterans For Peace Logo
National Veterans For Peace Logo
Veterans For Peace (VFP) is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. There is an annual convention in August for members from across the nation. Members receive periodic VFP publications.

The organization includes men and women veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, other conflicts and peacetime veterans. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.

Veterans For Peace is an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the UN. Whether or not you wish to participate in chapter activities, please consider becoming a Veteran For Peace member. As an organization, we are what our members make us. You can be part of that effort either as an active local member, or as a registered member of the National Veterans for Peace.

Statement of Purpose

We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others

(a) To increase public awareness of the costs of war
(b) To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
(c) To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
(d) To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
(e) To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.

To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.

For more details please refer to the National VFP bylaws.

San Diego Chapter

San Diego Veterans For Peace Logo
San Diego Veterans For Peace Logo
We are a concerned group of patriotic veterans who feel compelled to speak out at this crucial time in our country’s history. While members of the American uniformed services, we were duty-bound and did not ask questions concerning our mission. Now, as discharged veterans and private citizens, we feel duty-bound to demand answers concerning the mission of our current service members, and to ensure that the sacrifices of American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are not taken lightly nor expended on frivolous endeavors.

As veterans with a range of experience and of military service, we act together to help educate our community about the American military culture and concerns. When you talk to one of our members, you know there is a passion and it is not something you will hear or read about in a glossy brochure.

It is without a doubt that our activism stems from a deep love of our country, but also with a connection to humanity. It is from this background that we have all come together in the San Diego area to join in one clear voice. We will work toward a world of peace and justice, and we will continue our commitment toward security, national and global, using nonviolent means. For more details please refer to the chapter’s by-laws.