WITH A TRACE Kevin Palmer gave Michele Mathews a lift so she could make a rubbing of Mr. Palmer’s uncle’s name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., Monday. Douglass Palmer died in 1966 while serving in the Navy. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images via The Wall Street Journal)
Outrage erupted among a group of veterans at the Occupy Wall Street protest last week after Iraq War veteran Kayvan Sabeghi said police clubbed him during a Nov. 3 standoff between officers and supporters of Occupy Oakland.
On Friday, fellow former service members plan to march in Oakland to denounce police brutality that they say was the cause of Sabeghi’s ruptured spleen and the injury suffered by another Iraq War veteran and Occupy Oakland protester, Scott Olsen, who witnesseses said was hit by a police projectile on Oct. 25.
"No one should be treated like that whether they’re a veteran or not," said Michael Thurman, who helped spearhead Friday’s march, which leaves from Frank Ogawa Plaza at 4 p.m.
The veterans’ injuries and their engagement with the Occupy movement have an infamous precedent that resonates with events continuing to unfold in the center of downtown Oakland.
In May 1932, about 15,000 veterans, many unemployed and destitute, descended on Washington, D.C. They demanded immediate payment of future bonuses promised them by the government. Many of the men, as well as their wives and children, set up camps around the Capitol when President Herbert Hoover refused their demands. The occupation ended in bloodshed after police descended on the Bonus Army, as they came to be called. Cavalry and tanks sent in to rout the camp were followed by soldiers with bayonets who hurled tear gas at the men and their families.
The camp was left in flames, and thousands were wounded.
The Bonus Army’s treatment hasn’t been lost on the veterans who plan to march Friday.”
– The Oakland Tribune, “Veterans March Planned Friday In Support of Wounded Occupy Protestors”
A general view of Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Remembrance Day is observed in Commonwealth countries on November 11 to remember those who served in the armed forces and died in the line of duty since World War I. (Photo: Reuters via the New York Post)
Participants from Georgia.
Lady Liberty with a working torch.
At Occupy Camps, Veterans Bring the Wars Home
We’re in a coffee shop near McPherson Square, the location of Occupy DC, and Michael Patterson, 21, and I are having hot cocoa on a cold November night. He’s wearing an Iraq Veterans Against the War sweatshirt and baggy shorts. It’s freezing outside. “I’m from Alaska,” he offers as an explanation. He’s been sleeping in a tent in D.C. for over a month now. I’ve traveled to five Occupations in two countries. In every demonstration (including the one in Canada) I’ve found a vet to talk to:
In Zuccotti Park, Army Specialist Jerry Bordeleau, 24, was sitting next to a table of IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) literature. On his sweater were two buttons: an Iraq Campaign metal and one from the IWW. He served two tours in Iraq and now says he’s unemployed and can’t find work for over $10 an hour. And he can’t live on $10 an hour. When I asked him why he’s at Occupy Wall Street he says, “I went and fought for capitalism and that’s why I’m now a Marxist.” Read more.
In honor of Veterans’ Day, one way to acknowledge might be with a donation (even a little one) to a veterans advocacy or support organization. My choice organization is SWAN (Service Womens’ Action Network), which does some amazing advocacy and policy work supporting female veterans. They are at work engaging with policymakers and garnering support for related legislation or for parts of certain bills (full list here). They are also involved with two lawsuits: one in conjunction with the ACLU to fulfill a FOIA request to the Pentagon for records related to reports of military rape and sexual assault, the other a federal suit (Cioca et al v. Rumsfeld and Gates) filed on behalf of 16 military victims of sexual assault. The organization also provides peer support. There are also any number of really important veterans organizations to choose from. Here are a few possibilities.
The shadow of Vietnam veteran Bud Moore of Fort Lauderdale, Florida falls on the Vietnam Memorial wall, which pays tribute to servicemen killed in the Vietnam War, on Veterans Day, November 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Moore served in Quang Tri from 1968-1969. (Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP-Getty via the Boston Globe)
Bagpipers. That’s the Empire State Building in the background.