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May 20, 2019

Vietnam Veterans Against the War Occupy the Statue of Liberty, 1971

On December 26, 1971, fifteen Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) activists barricaded and occupied the Statue of Liberty for two days to bring attention to their cause. Simultaneous protests took place at other sites across the country, such as the historic Betsy Ross house in Philadelphia (for 45 minutes) and Travis Air Force Base in California (for 12 hours). VVAW members in California also briefly occupied the South Vietnam Government consulate in San Francisco.

VVAW protesters hang banners from the statue’s crown in December, 1971.

In 1976 VVAW members occupied the Statue of Liberty a second time to bring renewed attention to veteran issues.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War is an American tax-exempt non-profit organization and corporation founded in 1967 to oppose the United States policy and participation in the Vietnam War. VVAW says it is a national veterans’ organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military veterans. It publishes a twice-yearly newsletter, The Veteran; this was earlier published more frequently as 1st Casualty (1971–1972) and then as Winter Soldier (1973–1975).

VVAW identifies as anti-war, although not in the pacifistic sense. Membership has varied greatly, from almost 25,000 veterans during the height of the war to fewer than 2,000 since the late 20th century. The VVAW is widely considered to be among the most influential anti-war organizations of the American Vietnam War era.



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