April 1971-Dewey Canyon III. So-named because the code name for the then current invasion of Laos was "Dewey Canyon II," which itself was named after Dewey Canyon I, the invasion of Laos in 1969. Thousands gathered as Vietnam veterans threw their medals back at the U.S. government on the capitol steps. The following is a short accounting of the event taken from the November 1982 issue of About Face, the old VVAW AI newsletter.

Dewey Canyon III

Dewey Canyon III was a limited incursion into the country of Congress--a militant protest--organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, against the Congress and the U.S. government. Almost a thousand Vietnam veterans camped for a week on the mall in D.C., and through various activities disrupted the normal routine of politics and tourism, especially by conducting guerilla theater reenactments of what they did to the Vietnamese people on the steps of different government buildings. The vets defied a Supreme Court ban on camping on the mall, and in a final blast on April 23, thousands of vets threw their medals and various military regalia at the Congress, expressing their solidarity with the Vietnamese people and denouncing the U.S. government in no uncertain terms. Following are some of the brief statements by the brothers at Dewey Canyon III as their medals flew through the air:

"Bruce, New York, I have a Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, a Vietnam Service Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon and Purple Heart..."

"My name is John and here's a bunch of bullshit!"

"More bullshit."

"My name's Peter and I got a Purple Heart here and I hope I get another one fighting these motherfuckers."

"Robert, New York, and I symbolically return all Vietnam medals and other service medals given me by the power structure that has genocidal policies against non-white peoples of the world!"

"This is for the brothers and sisters at Kent."

"This is for the brothers and sisters this year."

"Second Battalion, First Marines, Power to the people!"

"22nd Calvary strike Danang. I hope they realize this is their last goddamn chance."

"Spec 4, Army, retired. I've taken in 9 Purple Hearts, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Army Commendation and a lot of other shit. This is for my brothers!"

"We're not gonna fight anymore, but if we have to fight again, it will be to take these steps!"