Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War

Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War
L-R: PFC Victor R. Sheets; SP4 Jim L. Barstad; and SP4 Clint R. Bath of D Co., 12th Inf Regt., 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, enjoy their Thanksgiving Day dinner at LZ St. George. 27 November 69.
This blog entry is about Thanksgiving and Vietnam, but we have to  start earlier. For the Vietnamese, the Vietnam War began as soon as World War II ended when the French promise of independence  proved empty and a 9-year French-Indochina War ensued. 

An American military presence in Vietnam began in 1950 under President Truman.
Four days after the assassination of President Kennedy, on Tuesday 26 November 1963,  President Lyndon B. Johnson'x new administration reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the Republic of Vietnam and pledged "to assist the people and Government of that country to win their contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy." Johnson also gave his personal sanction for a stepped-up program of "clandestine operations by the GVN (Government of Vietnam) against the North."
Notwithstanding the 14 year presence of American military advisors in Vietnam due to the fear of Communism spreading throughout southwest Asia, the American public's conception of the war did not began in  August 1964 when naval attacks by the North Vietnamese was reported and on August 7 the U.S. congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Johnson the power to take whatever actions he saw necessary to defend southeast Asia.
In 2003, the documentary "Fog of War" was released. In it, President Johnson's Secretary of Defense admitted that there was no actual second attack.

In any case, as you can see, following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the American presence in Vietnam, and the resulting casualties, increased dramatically.
1960 Nov 24 900 American troops 5 Americans died
1961 Nov 23 3205 American troops 16  Americans died
1962 Nov 22 11,300 American troops 53  Americans died
1963 Nov 19 16,300 American troops 122  Americans died
1964 Nov 26 23,300 American troops 216  Americans died
1965 Nov 25 184,300 American troops 1,928  Americans died
1966 Nov 24 385,300 American troops 6,350  Americans died
1967 Nov 23 485,600 American troops 11,363  Americans died
1968 Nov 28 536,100 American troops 16,899  Americans died
1969 Nov 27 475,200 American troops 11,780  Americans died

Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War

From live turkeys dropped in 1962…

…to fasting in protest in 1969

Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1962...live turkeys airdropped: click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam 1962
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1965...from President Johnson to the armed services: Today Americans of all faiths gather in their homes and places of worship and give thanks for the blessings of our great land. Click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam, 1965
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1966... Most American servicemen in Vietnam will haveThanksgiving dinners tomorrow starting off with shrimp cocktail and going on through turkey and giblet gravy.... Click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam, 1966
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1967...Thanksgiving Day church services in the nation... Click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam, 1967
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1968...Some 500,000 pounds of turkey are on the way to mess halls and tents throughout South Vietnam... Click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam, 1968
Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War 1969... More than a hundred G.I.'s serving in a field evacuation hospital here boycotted Thanksgiving dinner today... click >>> Thanksgiving and Vietnam, 1969

Thanksgiving and Vietnam

The day after Thanksgiving 1965, Friday 26 November, Great Barrington police arrested Arlo Guthrie for littering in the nearby town of Stockbridge, MA. The resulting adventure would be immortalized in his song "Alice's Restaurant," one of the most influential protest songs of that era.

Thanksgiving and Vietnam

By the mid-60s' Beatlemania was gone, but individual Beatles still had an impact. On November 26, 1969,  the day before the American Thanksgiving celebration, John Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen as an act of protest against the Vietnam war.

Your Majesty,

I am returning my Member of the British Empire as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.

                With love. John Lennon of Bag

 

 

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