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What Noble Cause? Vietnam Combat Veteran Not Welcome at Vietnam War Memorial

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

I joined seven Vermont bus loads of concerned United States citizens in converging on the nation's capital, Washington D.C. on Saturday, September 24, 2005. We endured twenty-two hours on a bus which afforded little opportunity for sleep and twelve hours on our feet in solidarity with the multitude protesting George W. Bush's illegal war on Iraq. It was a tiring day, made so in large part by standing in place for two-and-a-half hours at the corner of Constitution Avenue and K Streets as the feeder marches converged on the rally site nearby. Wave after wave of people streamed by as we awaited our turn to step off into the march. We were standing at corner where Camp Casey was established and the Veterans For Peace were gathering. More than one-quarter-million people had come to Mordor to say, "Stop the war! We've had enough". I joined hundreds and hundreds of Veterans For Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Gold Star Mothers for Peace in being the lead contingent of the march. We marched three-and-a-half miles through the streets of D.C. passing the institutions and their immense buildings that make war profitable. We passed in front of the White House where we expressed the people's growing displeasure with this regime. In no uncertain terms we let the occupant of the People's House know that impeachment is in the wind.

One of my veteran brothers from Vermont, a Vietnam combat veteran burdened with PTSD and unable to stay in one place for very long headed off to pay his respects at the Vietnam War Memorial. Upon arriving at the Vietnam Memorial he held his VFP flag with both hands and gazed at the black granite wall. Tears filled his eyes as he looked at the myriad of names while holding the dove-on-helmet VFP flag in his hands. No sooner had the tears flowed then he was ordered to put the flag down. Not being easily intimidated this former G.I. questioned the D.C. authority on the rationale for having to remove his flag. He was then told he had to leave or be arrested. This Vietnam combat veteran who was sent to kill others in Vietnam under the pretense of protecting the American way of life was now being threatened with incarceration for practicing it!

The U.S. system inculcates obedience to the State. It indoctrinates children from a very early age in the schools to parrot the Pledge of Allegiance. The words of the National Anthem sung at sporting events state that we are "the land of the free and the home of the brave." However, the free are not those confined to paying their respects to fallen comrades within the narrow parameters as defined by the State. Telling my Vietnam combat veteran friend how he can mourn is not living in the land of the free. His resistance, however, is testament to our still being in the home of brave.

The Noble Cause of the People

George W. Bush says that one's service to one's country is a "noble cause", with the sacrifice of one's life being the highest offering. But why is one's service to one's country not noble enough to merit being able to pay homage to the war dead in one's own chosen way? Why is dying in Bush's war, the so-called noble cause, not worthy of visibility as the dead return home under secrecy and the cover of darkness? Why are Bush's the dead of Bush's "noble cause" hidden from view the way that the executioner's face is always well hidden? Bush's "noble cause" perversely requires that the United States and Iraqi dead and maimed be hidden from public view. Why do the United States people allow this administration to callously use the dead for their own political purposes? How many names will there be on the yet-to-be-built Iraq war memorial? How many names on the Afghanistan war memorial? The future Iran war memorial? The future Syria war memorial? The next and ad-infinitum war memorial? Can the United States of America exist without waging some war, some place in the world, all of the time? Has perpetual war become a defining parameter of the United States? Is war a necessary component for neo-liberalism's survival? Someday, the peoples of the world will put up a memorial to the fallen victims of United States imperialism. How many acres and acres of marble walls would that take? How many tens-of-millions of names would there be on this wall? How many native American names? How many African American names? How many Southeast Asian names? How many Central and South American names? How many names from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, My Lai, Fallujah, etc.?

Wrong Person Arrested

Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star Mother for Peace, along with her sister and 370 others were arrested at the White House on Monday, September 26, 2005. After being refused a meeting with George W. Bush, Cindy Sheehan and others sat in front of the White refusing to move until George W. Bush came out to met with them. George wasn't coming out. They were arrested. Cindy wrote of her arrest on her website,,

We all know by now why George won't meet with parents of the soldiers he has killed who disagree with him. First of all, he hates it when people disagree with him. I am not so sure he hates it as much as he is in denial that it even happens....he is a coward who arrogantly refuses to meet with the people who pay his salary... [The] reason why he won't talk to us is that he knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer.

Cindy Sheehan gets arrested for as she puts it, the "tragic and needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America) who would be alive if it weren't for the criminals who reside in and work in the White House". A Vietnam War veteran gets threatened with arrest for crying at the Vietnam Wall with a Veterans For Peace flag in his hands. Shame on you George. You have brought the United States of America to a new low. Your noble cause is not the noble cause of the people, which is to end the war and have you removed from office.

An Ohio man as he was being arrested at the White House said it was "an honor to be arrested with this group of people." The crowd chanted, "Arrest Bush". Yes, indeed, do arrest Bush. The tears of my Vietnam combat veteran friend and comrade, the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, and the collective exhaustion of the 300,000 plus gathered in Washington D.C. on September 24, 2005 will not be for naught. The time is approaching when their noble cause will be realized as the thugs and criminals in the White House are removed. The world's second super-power, the People, are in the process of making certain this happens shortly. Impeach George W. Bush.

© 2005 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski



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Jozef Hand-Boniakowski and his wife JeanneE run the commentary/blog site "Metaphoria" which can be viewed at

I am the Peter Schoffstall named above. Write me at if you wish further verification. I am a Korean War ("police Action") of 1953-55. This verification was not solicited by the Hand-Boniakovskis.

Your story about your friend is heartbreaking. Do you know if this policy, (not allowing flags? hats? buttons? who knows?) was in effect before Bush came to DC? If it's something new it should be publicized. It is outrageous. What did these war dead fight for? We were told it was to stop communism, dictatorships, and people against democracy. Looks like they won.

I don't know myself when this policy came to be. But the same thing happened to me about 9 months ago. I'm a mother of a Marine and had attended a rally against the war in Iraq, so I still had my sign. As I approached the path that leads to the memorial, a female park police adamantly stopped me from getting anywhere near. So, yes, this is what it comes down to: your children can go to useless wars to die, but you can't get near the memorials they build for them.

I find it an absolute outrage that American veterans and their family members are being prevented from even visiting memorials paying tribute to their deceased loved ones. Exactly the point: what "freedoms" are our soldiers dying in all these foreign wars for, when those same freedoms are so casually stripped away by our own government "authorities"? Every gung-ho, flag-waving, "support our troops" right-wing blowhard needs to face the facts and admit that the same military machine that eats your sons ands daughters for lunch is also bringing a total lock-down police state to this country. Does this make you proud, you warmongering fascist pigs?

"I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism."
~ Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The war has come to DC...but the White House and Congress are to busy trying to convince people there is a 'noble cause.' No longer will we be silent and quietly be branded as unpatriotic because we think killing our loved ones and innocent civilians a cause worth fighting and paying for....War hurts your own citizens. Thank you guys for bringing the war home...this insurgency is one that they cannot matter who owns the media...we will control the message now....

My article "What Noble Cause? Vietnam Combat Veteran Not Welcome at Vietnam War Memorial" has nothing to do with the website "" and that site took and used my article without permission. The link to the original is incorrect and I believe deliberately misleading. The original is on my website called Metaphoria with URL and posted at: While I appreciate my article being posted on, linking it with "" is dishonest and wrong.

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

Thank you for letting us know. We will take care of this immediately.

Posted a comment while back. Where is it?

[Editors note: See the home page of, anonymous comments (ie. from non-registered users) are no longer permitted. Actually, they will still get through if the administrators have time to manually approve them, but it's proving hard to keep up. Go to to register so your comments go through]

after watching the pbs show on the sixties last night i was shocked at the parallels with current events - the lies, cover-ups, phoney appeals to love of country, equating dissent with treason, linking support of troops with support of war, the absence of the offspring of the rich and powerful in the front lines, the oblivious president,
and on and on and on................when will we ever learn?

Why don't we contact the DC police and the US Park Service and find out who gave the orders to not allow veterans or parents with peace signs to go to the memorial?

I keep getting these mails, asking me to write, poll, or petition Congress to do this or not do that. They have demonstrated by action that they will not go against anything that the Admin.,or thier Corporate sponsors want. This seems to be happening in both parties (with a few exceptions here and there). I have come to the conclusion that by in large, "the same powers that control one party has control or near control over the other as well". Voting for the lesser of two evils - still puts evil in power. Its time we do not use our votes in this fashion any longer. As for the military - find ways to stop recruiters from collecting young bodies. Without bodies they cant wage a war. Politicians fear the "D" word (draft)too, for to merely utter the word can mean political suicide. Also a draft might mean that thier own family members might have to go into the service. Definately check and see that your district High school is not allowing "unanswered recruiters" on the premises. Make darn sure that "opt out" forms are available to all students and families.
Change will occur when we force it to occur. Not when we meekly ask for it.

i served in nam 1970-71 i was proud to serve. i don't know want other gi's was fighing for i wae fighting for the south vietnam people. they slept on bambo beds cooked on open fire they had dirt floors as clean as and american home floors. the south vietnam people were great. i was fighting communism in vietnam so the people had a change to better their lives. i guess i'm the only one that remmeber's the old saying the vietnam war was a poor man's war if you could send your son to college they would not be drafted you were a 1c not 1a. president clinton was not a draft dodger as long as he was attending college. only the poor people who could not afford to send their son's to college were drafted. as for the war in iraq we should never had gone these people have been fighting for thousand's of years they will never stop. we need to get out i cryed that day in 1975when we pulled out of vietnam 58,479 lives loss for naught and millons of vietnam pleople loss their lives.

Indeed the world should be told about any vietnam veteran being refused to carry a peace flag when standing in solidarity with a memorial to these killed by war. Oh, how I hate that all the media we have with great public access are corporate owned, which corporations support war and instant profits they gain from war, or support other countries who profit from war.

I am not surprised at any thing this administration does to hurt people.I think it is a waste of time to pretend they are even credible.Impeach Bush and Cheny.Throw out Rove since he runs the show.


I am so sorry for how your friend was treated in our nation's capital.

I am a veteran, the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, the daughter-in-law of a WWII veteran, the wife of a Gulf War veteran, and now, the mother of a son who is serving in Iraq.

I don't understand how people, many of whom display "Support Our Troops" signs, treat peace protesters, and veterans at that, with such disrespect.

There are several Gulf War and Iraqi War veterans running for Congress or considering a run. My husband, Jeff Latas, is a retired Air Force officer and Gulf War veteran, and the father of a soldier currently serving his county in Iraq, which would make him one of only very few members in Congress with such credentials. He is currently gaining support in Southeastern Arizona’s Congresional District 8 as a viable candidate. Please encourage Jeff to become our next Congressman from Arizona.

For more information, please visit Jeff’s Web site:

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