Vietnam Vets and the Hippies

Discussion in 'Vietnam War' started by Gin0710, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Member

    How did you feel about the hippy movement in the 60s while the war was going on? Did it piss you off? I've always been curious about that and the reception from soldiers returning home who ran into hippies. Do you think it was any different than soldiers returning from Afghanistan or Iraq?
  2. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

    I was not alive then, but the way returning soldiers were treated was appalling. I have heard of a number of incidents that make me extremely angry if I let it get to me.

    Both my parents were in college at that time and were not part of the hippie movement at all. My mother was very uncomfortable with it and my dad kind of ignored it. While there are some things I like about hippies, like permission to not shave!! the attitude of rebellion and the drug use is something I do not approve of at all.

    I have not heard any stories about Afghanistan/Iraq soldiers being insulted or called horrible names when they came home, that doesn't mean it never happened, but I have really only heard of people welcoming them home and being glad they are safe.
  3. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    Well, "hippies" covers a lot of ground in terms of the social movements of that time. If, however, you mean those that specifically harassed returning serve men, I'd say it doesn't get much worse than that. These were men and women who put their lives on their line, many of whom not voluntarily due to the draft, so for them to be spat upon and called "baby killers" is outrageous.

    I have a family member who served in the Marine Corp in Vietnam. He was wounded in-country and when he came home, experienced exactly that kind of mistreatment. I know it bothered him for a long time.
    Gin0710 likes this.
  4. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Member

    I'm sorry to hear that GearZ. My husband faced a lot of scrutiny too after returning from Iraq. Out of no where some man just got in his face and pointed a finger at him. Family members don't understand what he went through, giving him a hard time because he suffers from PTSD. I know there were a variety of hippies back then and maybe I'm too ignorant to make assumptions, but I've always tried to understand their point of view on veterans and veterans experiences with hippies.
  5. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Member

    I was not alive during the time. I'm 29. But I know a lot of the people I am close to, as well as family members really were appalled and rejected the whole counter culture revolution. The way that those who laid down their lives on the line in Vietnam were treated when they returned was just mind blowingly awful. As much as I wish veterans were treated better these days, it's nothing compared to how it used to be .
  6. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

    I have never understood how someone could say such cruel words to someone who has already gone through traumatic experiences they most likely did not want to have anything to do with. Being drafted is already traumatic, or could be for some people, let alone what happens to them after that.
  7. I look at hippies and "draft-dodgers" like this: would I be brave enough to go to war if called upon? Today's soldiers all go to war by choice, as the draft has been gone for 40 years. Most of us will never know what it is like to be forced to go to war. The only problem I had with them was when they would war mock army uniforms and criticize soldiers who risked their lives for our freedoms. The war might not have been necessary, but when your country calls the brave go into action.
  8. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    Yes.....I was there, and in some ways I still am.
    The "hippies." like *Gear* said, does cover a large spectrum of people. The hippie movement by itself was a peace movement but there were those who were of that culture only by name and not by action.
    There were a lot of "Jane Fondas" around proclaiming to be Americans but having no allegience when it came to supporting the American soldier. They did not understand that we were sent to do a job and we did it the best we could with whatever materials that were given us. We did not care about the politics, just about what we raised our hands for. We were trained to win at all costs, but were held back by politicians who were making money as long as we fought. When the money ran out, we were proclaimed losers in a war that we knew we should have won. I felt real sorry for the soldiers who pulled out a few years after I left. When I came back to the free world, I was not an angry soldier at the time, but quickly became that way to such a degree that I wanted to go back to Vietnam.

    One thing is vastly misunderstood about a soldier. PTSD does not happen while and when we are fighting. It happens when we come home and truely expect things to be the same as we left it. Hence the truth to the saying, "you can never go home."

    No, hippies did not make me angry. The country I still love did.
  9. Jason76

    Jason76 New Member

    I don't think all hippies were anti-war. A lot of guys wore long hair in those days only cause that was the style. The trend started when young guys were trying to copy the Beatles. Also, true, some hippies were terribly anti-American to the point of spitting on soldiers. However, others were more moderate.

    Actually, Jane Fonda made a caring movie about disabled vets after the war. Of course, the trip to North Vietnam was foolish, sort of like Michael Moore's trip to Cuba on the movie "Sicko".
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  10. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    I rise to write in thread as started by Jason.

    There was a spectrum differing groups which have been simplisticly refered to as "hippies", while reality is more involveed and complex. First, there was a group which could be called "hippies". They existed in proximity to the Haight-Ashbury community of San Fransico exclusively. But there were "shadow hippy" communities throughout the US. Perhaps these people more rightly be discribed as Flower Children or Flower Power, as they seemingly identified with a lifestyle which involved Music, Drugs, Art, "free expression" and more.

    There was another community of people involved in the Anti-War, Anti-Establishment movements. There was some cross-over or mingling of these two groups, but should understand that they were distinct.

    Then there were the Hard-Core Revolutionaries. These were identified in Police Intelligence circles as the semi-mythical "Outside Agitators", but they really did exist. I know because in 1972 I happened to witness them, though not fully understanding what I was seeing. Unfortunately the FBI cast a wide net, and caught far too many innocents. But these Hardcore Revolutionaries were not adverse to also using innocents for their purposes.
  11. thomas pendrake

    thomas pendrake Active Member

    Much of the "hippie" vs. soldier fiction was just pure fiction, and many of the "hippies" were veterans. I knew many who were both. In fact, pot was very much part of the Vietnam experience. It is true that many soldiers went "kill crazy". One of my friends was pulled out of combat because of the necklace of 11 scalps and the cigarette case fashioned from a viet cong woman's breast he had..
  12. David Layne

    David Layne Active Member

    Well, my orders for Vietnam did come, I think sometime in June 1969. I was to report to Oakland Army Base, California for processing to Vietnam. My flight took me to San Francisco, and as I was traveling under Army orders I was required to wear my uniform.

    Realizing I would probably never get the chance to see San Francisco again I delayed reporting to Oakland and instead acted the tourist seeing the sites. Curiosity led me to the much-famed center of the hippie universe the Haight-Ashbury district, this was a big mistake.

    As a uniformed soldier, I was treated with outright hostility, however, despite their pleas for me to desert and join them I beat a hasty retreat and reported into the safety of Oakland Army Base.

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