Target: United States Congress
Goal: Celebrate men who peacefully avoided the Vietnam War draft by creating a national holiday in their honor.
It is now common knowledge that the Vietnam War was a tragedy that left a dark stain on America’s history, along with the millions of lives it cost. Some men were enlightened enough in the ’60s and ’70s to realize they didn’t want to be a part of the mass killing taking place overseas. By burning their draft cards and avoiding the draft, they made a powerful statement about taking a stand for peace. As a result, many of them ended up in jail. America only honors those who have fought in war, forgetting those who bravely broke the law for peace. We need to reward this type of courage by creating a national holiday honoring the men who avoided the draft in peaceful protest of the war.
In addition to bombs, new methods of warfare like napalm and Agent Orange were used. These weapons make the men who fought in the Vietnam War responsible for millions of deaths, many of which were civilians. It’s not hard to understand why some would have no desire to drop napalm on civilian villages. When dropped, napalm causes severe burns by thickening and adhering to the skin. People have been boiled in riverbeds after napalm was dropped nearby. It can also turn more than 20% of the atmosphere into carbon monoxide. Agent Orange was also used in order to strip forestland and deprive guerillas of cover. Vietnam estimates that 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children were born with birth defects due to the use of Agent Orange. And because these chemicals are not only meant to hurt people but decimate the land as well, people were not the only victims of this war, the planet suffered immeasurably as well.
To avoid the primitive practice of warfare, approximately 170,000 men conscientiously objected to being drafted for the Vietnam War, 22,500 of them were indicted and approximately 8,800 men were convicted. It’s estimated that 4,000 men were imprisoned for simply not being willing to become killing machines.
It seems that men who wouldn’t go along with this form of human and environmental destruction should be acknowledged and rewarded. Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his writings, many of which told of his peaceful stance on the Vietnam War. What about all the men who broke the law and were imprisoned for theirs? Perhaps by honoring people who are brave enough to stand up for peace despite what lawmakers threaten, more Americans will be encouraged to consider peace as an alternative to America’s constant waging of wars. Sign the petition to demand that Congress celebrate the Vietnam War’s objectors with a national holiday.
Dear U.S. Congress,
As much as you would like Americans to forget about the laws that were broken and the people who were mercilessly killed during the Vietnam War, we owe it to humanity to remember our mistakes. Thousands of men were imprisoned for protesting the Vietnam War by avoiding the draft. These men refused to drop napalm and Agent Orange on civilian villages and for that they should be rewarded.
War has become a constant part of American politics. We have not seen a war on our soil for centuries, but that doesn’t mean we won’t. By acknowledging and rewarding peaceful thinking and action, you are preventing future wars by opening people’s eyes to the benefits of peaceful action. We ask you to honor the brave men who avoided the draft by creating a national holiday in their honor.
[Your Name Here]