ethel’s words

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The first “protest march” (differentiated from two demonstrations that I remember because of photographs) against our military action in Viet Nam, consisted of four persons: Ammon Hennacy, host of the Joe Hill House (author of The Book of Ammon); a draft-age poet whose name is well-remembered by me and a few others still living (NOT the poet who escaped to a Scandinavian nation); a guest of The Joe Hill House (where names were discouraged because it was open to fugitives); and I.

One of my first signs said, “Dear Yankee, Come Home”, reflecting a cry around the Earth, “Yankee, Go Home”. That was not included in reports of signs. Mainstream media ignored middle-aged women, the first to protest our “war” against Viet Nam; bearded men were sought. I asked one TV reporter, “Why did you include that [bearded] guy? He wasn’t in the protest.” “More interesting.”

I am outraged that there are still dominating wrong impressions about protestors. The reason returning Nam vets were not greeted with bands (I think) was to prevent any notion that demonstrators influenced ending of the slaughter. And the heroes of that tragedy came home in dribbles--there was no Great Arrival. The only denunciation I ever heard, that spilled onto our fighting personnel, was from right-wing war-supporters.

The difficulty of trying to counteract the lies of the mainstream media is daunting. Protest as we will, correct as we do, in our tiny voices, we still hear and read, for example, (from non-hostile reporters): “The Kent State protestors who were killed by The National Guard...”. FOUR STUDENTS at Kent State were killed: They WERE NOT protestors. The protestors that day went un-scathed.

(Inappropriate or not, I feel compelled to use every opportunity to correct another LIE. The murder of six million Jews and uncounted gypsies, homosexuals, communists, and union activists, had NOTHING TO DO WITH WORLD WAR II. IT STARTED LONG BEFORE THE WAR.)

There is a memorial statue on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol. I refused to donate to the model. At a non-related protest at the finished statue, I said to erstwhile Congressperson Wayne Owens (deceased), who supported it, “That is shameful. There was disproportionate drafting of Negroes and Chicanos and this statue--of that big Anglo, looking like he won a war all by himself--is dishonest and racist.” Wayne said, “I know all that.”

Ethel C. Hale