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When Vietnam vets came home (Soldiers being spit on is just an urban myth)
News and Observer ^ | Nov 10, 2004 | JOHN LLEWELLYN

Posted on 11/10/2004 3:35:05 PM PST by mykdsmom

WINSTON-SALEM -- Last week voters went to the polls to select a vision for the future. Now Americans must find a way forward together. This week, as we honor service and sacrifice on Veterans Day, an image from this political season must be put to rest.

The presidential campaign featured the resurgence of a myth from the early 1990s. That myth is that soldiers returning from Vietnam were spit upon by citizens or war protesters. That claim has been used to turn honest differences of opinion about the war into toxic indictments.

As a scholar of urban legends I am usually involved with accounts of vanishing hitchhikers and involuntary kidney donors. These stories are folklore that harmlessly reveals the public imagination. However, accounts of citizens spitting on returning soldiers -- any nation's soldiers -- are not harmless stories. These tales evoke an emotional firestorm.

I have studied urban legends for nearly 20 years and have been certified as an expert on the subject in the federal courts. Nonetheless, it dawned on me only recently that the spitting story was a rumor that has grown into an urban legend. I never wanted to believe the story but I was afraid to investigate it for fear that it could be true.

Why could I not identify this fiction sooner? The power of the story and the passion of its advocates offer a powerful alchemy of guilt and fear -- emotions not associated with clearheadedness.

Labeling the spitting story an urban legend does not mean that something of this sort did not happen to someone somewhere. You cannot prove the negative -- that something never happened. However, most accounts of spitting emerged in the mid-1980s only after a newspaper columnist asked his readers who were Vietnam vets if they had been spit upon after the war (an odd and leading question to ask a decade after the war's end). The framing of the question seemed to beg for an affirmative answer.

• • •

In 1998 sociologist and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke published "The Spitting Image: Myth, Media and the Legacy of Viet Nam." He recounts a study of 495 news stories on returning veterans published from 1965 to 1971. That study shows only a handful (32) of instances were presented as in any way antagonistic to the soldiers. There were no instances of spitting on soldiers; what spitting was reported was done by citizens expressing displeasure with protesters.

Opinion polls of the time show no animosity between soldiers and opponents of the war. Only 3 percent of returning soldiers recounted any unfriendly experiences upon their return.

So records from that era offer no support for the spitting stories. Lembcke's research does show that similar spitting rumors arose in Germany after World War I and in France after its Indochina war. One of the persistent markers of urban legends is the re-emergence of certain themes across time and space.

There is also a common-sense method for debunking this urban legend. One frequent test is the story's plausibility: how likely is it that the incident could have happened as described? Do we really believe that a "dirty hippie" would spit upon a fit and trained soldier? If such a confrontation had occurred, would that combat-hardened soldier have just ignored the insult? Would there not be pictures, arrest reports, a trial record or a coroner's report after such an event? Years of research have produced no such records.

Lembcke underscores the enduring significance of the spitting story for this Veterans Day. He observes that as a society we are what we remember. The meaning of Vietnam and any other war is not static but is created through the stories we tell one another. To reinforce the principle that policy disagreements are not personal vendettas we must put this story to rest.

Our first step forward is to recognize that we are not a society that disrespects the sacrifices of our servicemembers. We should ignore anyone who tries to tell us otherwise. Whatever our aspirations for America, those hopes must begin with a clear awareness of who we are not.

(John Llewellyn is an associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University.)


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: academiccesspool; dorkofwakeforest; hanoijohnnyacademic; idioteducator; incivility; leftspeak; liberalcollege; myth; politicalcorrectness; spit; spitspeaksvolumes; vietnamveterans; whaledungexpert
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I just knew y'all would appreciate the opportunity to educate the 'so-called' educator.

Dr. John Llewellyn
(336) 759-7229
llewelly@wfu.edu

1 posted on 11/10/2004 3:35:06 PM PST by mykdsmom
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To: mykdsmom; kdf1; AMERIKA; Lancey Howard; MudPuppy; SMEDLEYBUTLER; opbuzz; Snow Bunny; gitmogrunt; ...

The profanities that I am ready to expel are enormous.

Just who did this person speak to??

I was spit upon, I had people throw beer bottles at me from their cars, and I heard Baby Killer many times, and I graduated Parris Island in 1977...5 years after combat ended in Vietnam!

This woman needs to be Freeped and HOW!!


2 posted on 11/10/2004 3:38:22 PM PST by RaceBannon (Arab Media pulled out of Fallujah; Could we get the MSM to pull out of America??)
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To: mykdsmom; kdf1; AMERIKA; Lancey Howard; MudPuppy; SMEDLEYBUTLER; opbuzz; Snow Bunny; gitmogrunt; ...

The profanities that I am ready to expel are enormous.

Just who did this person speak to??

I was spit upon, I had people throw beer bottles at me from their cars, and I heard Baby Killer many times, and I graduated Parris Island in 1977...5 years after combat ended in Vietnam!

This woman needs to be Freeped and HOW!!


3 posted on 11/10/2004 3:38:30 PM PST by RaceBannon (Arab Media pulled out of Fallujah; Could we get the MSM to pull out of America??)
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To: RaceBannon

I think this is a guy.


4 posted on 11/10/2004 3:39:04 PM PST by Bahbah (Proud member of the pajamahadeen)
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To: mykdsmom

He's calling me a liar. I wish he would do it to my face.


5 posted on 11/10/2004 3:39:11 PM PST by mfulstone
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To: mykdsmom

"There is also a common-sense method for debunking this urban legend."

Which seems to be anything but surveying veterans.


6 posted on 11/10/2004 3:39:35 PM PST by Shermy (No More Al Quak Quaks!)
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To: Constitution Day; TaxRelief; Helms

NC Ping Please


7 posted on 11/10/2004 3:40:04 PM PST by mykdsmom
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To: mykdsmom

Hey John... we're they called babykillers (or is that just another Urban Myth)


8 posted on 11/10/2004 3:41:16 PM PST by bikepacker67 ("This is the best election night in history." -- DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe 11/2/04 8pm)
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To: RaceBannon

yeah right, not only was my brother in law spat upon on his return from Nam, when he finally got home "the Baby Killer", had to pay 3 xs what was on the cab meter before the sob would drive A Bronze Star winner home!


9 posted on 11/10/2004 3:41:44 PM PST by tiredoflaundry
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To: Bahbah

Maybe after the surgery she looks like a guy...


10 posted on 11/10/2004 3:42:58 PM PST by RaceBannon (Arab Media pulled out of Fallujah; Could we get the MSM to pull out of America??)
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To: mykdsmom
The presidential campaign featured the resurgence of a myth from the early 1990s.

What is this moron talking about? I heard about this "myth" during the seventies when I was a kid.
11 posted on 11/10/2004 3:43:17 PM PST by Freepdonia (Victory is Ours! (I told you so :-))
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: mykdsmom

hey buffoon go peddle your crap somewhere else, how dare you add salt to the wound


13 posted on 11/10/2004 3:44:58 PM PST by rockabyebaby (What goes around, comes around!)
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To: mykdsmom

He can kiss my Veteran ASS!

I spent the night in a California jail for beating the crap out of a "love child" that spit on me while I was waiting for my duffle bag at the airport luggage carosel.

I ignored the chants, but the spit earned him some extensive dental work and my right boot rearranged his rib cage. I still have the scars on my knuckles from his dislodged teeth..


14 posted on 11/10/2004 3:45:18 PM PST by kaferhaus
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To: RaceBannon
Years of research COVERUP have produced no such records.

I graduated PI July 73, I wore my UOD on boot leave and learned my lesson. The author of this article needs a good swift kick in the face.

15 posted on 11/10/2004 3:45:27 PM PST by JoeSixPack1 (Typing incoherently on FR since May '98.)
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To: mykdsmom

Oh, really...the abuse still continues.....my hubby's major was just called a war criminal, baby and civilian killer among other things....they spent 15mos in Iraq in an AVN Co....


16 posted on 11/10/2004 3:45:35 PM PST by mystery-ak (This military family thanks America for re-electing our CinC)
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To: mykdsmom

Who is this guy kidding??? I distinctly remember marching in a 4th of July parade when I was in the Boy Scouts in 19-73 or 1974 and we were the color guard for the local VFW. The Vets marched according to their service with the Viet Nam vets in the rear and they were jeered and booed and had things thrown at them. Most of the time whoever threw something was confronted by someone else in the crowd and the parade was only a couple of blocks long but it DID happen. I remember at first I was bewildered and then extremely angry. My dad was marching with the Korean Vets and he got a good dose of the hate too and he was fuming.


17 posted on 11/10/2004 3:46:01 PM PST by pgkdan
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To: mykdsmom

My brother committed suicide after his return from Nam. Our family believes one reason was the "welcome" he received when he got home. And I saw people flip him off, turn their backs on him, etc. He told me about spitting and I saw the evidence of bar fights resulting from the name calling.


18 posted on 11/10/2004 3:46:10 PM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: RaceBannon

And notice this puke publishes this crap on our birthday!!

Semper Fi


19 posted on 11/10/2004 3:46:29 PM PST by JoeSixPack1 (Typing incoherently on FR since May '98.)
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To: RaceBannon

LOL, point taken.


20 posted on 11/10/2004 3:46:38 PM PST by Bahbah (Proud member of the pajamahadeen)
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To: RaceBannon
I was a '70's soldier too. This guy is full of bravo sierra.

The left lives in a fantasy world.

21 posted on 11/10/2004 3:46:49 PM PST by colorado tanker (The People Have Spoken)
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To: mykdsmom
I'm an eyewitness. SFO, 11 August 1972. The good professor is full of Kerry.

Labeling the spitting story an urban legend does not mean that something of this sort did not happen to someone somewhere...

In other words, the label is utterly worthless. Thanks, perfesser.

22 posted on 11/10/2004 3:47:56 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: mykdsmom

"John Llewellyn is an associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University"

Not a vet?

oooohhh.... A liberal "intellecti"... Not smart enough to win elections, but smart enough to give opinions and insult everyone else. Got it.


23 posted on 11/10/2004 3:48:08 PM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: RaceBannon

I was about to ping you to this (you were the first to come to mind) but you beat me to it.

More vile absurdities from the lying, amoralistic academia nutjobs.


24 posted on 11/10/2004 3:49:01 PM PST by dansangel (Thank You GOD for answering our prayers!)
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To: mystery-ak

jun 70 lax airport ..... all the wonderful california liberals.... vvaw.. spat, through eggs, urine in a bag, fecies, called us everything they could think of.... I wore my uniform home through Atlanta, to Fayetteville, NC. I had it cleaned and it hangs in my closet to this say to remind me of them... and Kerry ..... and Fonda....


25 posted on 11/10/2004 3:49:34 PM PST by Gibtx (Pajamahadien call to arms.....)
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To: mykdsmom

Even if Dr. LLewellyn were right, which I don't believe for a second, he doesn't bother to cover what Kerry did to the vets when he admittedly lied to the Senate about their killing babies and other civilians. Llewellyn is way off track with this screed.


26 posted on 11/10/2004 3:49:48 PM PST by kitkat
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To: mykdsmom
This guy illustrates all that is wrong with advanced reasoning as it is represented in academia today. It is changing history to fit his view. And is intellectually dishonest in defining what he would see as contrary proof. And above all else, he is flat a** wrong!!! I personally witnessed three multiple acts of spitting(two were aimed at me)separated by 12 months and 16 months. Gotta go.
27 posted on 11/10/2004 3:49:48 PM PST by crazyhorse691 (We won. We don't need to be forgiving. Let the heads roll!!!!!!!!!)
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To: RaceBannon
'She' needs a shave. ;-)

John Llewellyn, an associate professor of communication at Wake Forest.

http://www.wfu.edu/wfunews/2003/030603c.html

28 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:02 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: RaceBannon

Scholar of Urban Legends?
Gosh...sounds like snopes...

I appreciate your service Race.

Cindy


29 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:13 PM PST by Cindy
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To: mykdsmom

Lemme tell you something. This Dr. will need a Dr if I ever get my hands on him.

They not only spit, but they threw human waste at our group.


30 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:17 PM PST by crz
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To: mykdsmom
When Vietnam vets came home (Soldiers being spit on is just an urban myth)

Bull Shi'ite!

31 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:27 PM PST by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: mykdsmom
"I have studied urban legends for nearly 20 years and have been certified as an expert on the subject in the federal courts."

And you're still an idiot.

32 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:43 PM PST by TexasCowboy (Texan by birth, citizen of Jesusland by the Grace of God)
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To: mykdsmom

bttt


33 posted on 11/10/2004 3:50:48 PM PST by Balata
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To: RaceBannon; JoeSixPack1

34 posted on 11/10/2004 3:51:54 PM PST by BraveMan
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To: mykdsmom

Heard of many people who were spat upon. In this case the issue becomes an "urban myth" when it's convenient to change history.


35 posted on 11/10/2004 3:52:13 PM PST by madison10
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To: mykdsmom
There is also a common-sense method for debunking this urban legend. One frequent test is the story's plausibility: how likely is it that the incident could have happened as described? Do we really believe that a "dirty hippie" would spit upon a fit and trained soldier? If such a confrontation had occurred, would that combat-hardened soldier have just ignored the insult? Would there not be pictures, arrest reports, a trial record or a coroner's report after such an event? Years of research have produced no such records.

He forgets that the SOLDIER would, if he responded, be in serious trouble with his chain of command, and could expect to be court-martialed for assault, battery, and conduct unbecoming.

36 posted on 11/10/2004 3:52:16 PM PST by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: mykdsmom

This makes me so mad...I'm shaking.

I don't know what to say.

I'll have to get some control before I do say anything because this is a total lie. That's all these so-called educated people do is lie!

And you can bet your bottom dollar they vote dem!!!!!!


37 posted on 11/10/2004 3:52:20 PM PST by LadyPilgrim (Sealed my pardon with His blood, Hallelujah!!! What a Savior!!!)
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To: mykdsmom
I just knew y'all would appreciate the opportunity to educate the 'so-called' educator.

Yeah.

He certainly can't do serious research interviewing those dopers at DU!
Give me a break.

Sounds like he's trying to start his own Urban Lie.

38 posted on 11/10/2004 3:52:28 PM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: Gibtx

Welcome Home, soldier...


39 posted on 11/10/2004 3:52:43 PM PST by mystery-ak (This military family thanks America for re-electing our CinC)
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To: mystery-ak

hand salute


40 posted on 11/10/2004 3:55:05 PM PST by Gibtx (Pajamahadien call to arms.....)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

rising blood pressure ping


41 posted on 11/10/2004 3:55:23 PM PST by boxerblues (www.ohbluestarmothers.org)
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To: mykdsmom
Did spitting on returning servicemen happen ?
Yes.
Did it happen a lot ? It was the exception, not the rule
I think the story was spread with a broad brush.

Much like JfnKerry painted all vets as baby killers etc...
Did that happen ? sure
Did it happen a lot ? I think not. It was the exception, not the rule.
42 posted on 11/10/2004 3:55:48 PM PST by stylin19a (It's called GOLF because all the other 4 letter words were taken)
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To: mykdsmom; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; ALOHA RONNIE

Get a load of this guy . . .


43 posted on 11/10/2004 3:55:59 PM PST by BraveMan
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To: mykdsmom

Do we really believe that a "dirty hippie" would spit upon a fit and trained soldier? If such a confrontation had occurred, would that combat-hardened soldier have just ignored the insult?

"Dr." John Llewellyn is a left-wing fool. I wonder if he every thought that just maybe those dirty hippies traveled in packs, like wild dogs.


44 posted on 11/10/2004 3:56:13 PM PST by PhilipFreneau (Leftist incompetence led to the infiltration of the 9/11 terrorists.)
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To: mykdsmom

20 years from now, I suspect that it will be considered an "Urban Myth" that Republican campaign offices were shot at and had their windows broken in 2004.


45 posted on 11/10/2004 3:57:57 PM PST by andy58-in-nh
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To: dansangel

I can't say that I was spit on but I saw friendlier
looks on the faces of the Vietnamese people, than I saw
in LAX. Cold, hard stares, tight lips. The best part was when a WW II veteran took me into the bar and bought me a beer, that made up for the rest.

Isn't it interesting, this guy is willing to call all this
an urban legend and justifies it by saying "you can't prove
a negative", yet there is no refutation of Kerry's lies
and slanders, negatives for which were WAS no proof.


46 posted on 11/10/2004 3:58:54 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: mykdsmom
In 1968 there was a Marine standing in his dress greens at the corner of Katella and St. College in Anaheim, CA. Anyone who has ever been to Disneyland knows the corner.

That evening this Marine was on a weekend liberty on his way to Viet Nam. As he was standing at the corner waiting with others for the traffic signal to change so he could cross the street to go to Disneyland there was an automobile with several people inside. As the car was making a right turn in front of the Marine and other pedestrians, a person in the back seat of the car leaned out and spat at the Marine but because of the Marine's excellent reflexes, he missed the spittle.

I know this story is accurate because I was that Marine.

Happy Birthday to all my fellow Marines alive and passed.

Semper Fi,
Kelly
47 posted on 11/10/2004 3:59:29 PM PST by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: mykdsmom
Labeling the spitting story an urban legend does not mean that something of this sort did not happen to someone somewhere. You cannot prove the negative -- that something never happened. However, most accounts of spitting emerged in the mid-1980s only after a newspaper columnist asked his readers who were Vietnam vets if they had been spit upon after the war (an odd and leading question to ask a decade after the war's end). The framing of the question seemed to beg for an affirmative answer.

This ... individual ... is an idiot. The question simply asked those who had been maltreated by hippies to "come forward" and "tell their stories". Last time I checked, leftists encouraged people to do that. I guess the leftist welcome mat gets rolled up when "their stories" reveal that naked truth that hippies in particular and leftists in general are evil. I'm shocked

48 posted on 11/10/2004 3:59:31 PM PST by ArrogantBustard
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To: mykdsmom
Yeah this guy is full of it...

Sept 1969 San Francisco Int'l Airport

The rioters through crap at us and spit at us...while sitting in the airport waiting for a military standby to Chicago to open up...a pretty hippy chick came up to me and a Marine I was traveling with..stood in front of us and asked us if we had fought in Vietnam..when we both said yes she started calling us 'baby killers' spit at both of us .from about a foot away...missed me and hit him in the face...he hauled back to belt her one..I was able to keep him from killing her..even though I wanted to kill her myself..then she began screaming obscenities at us which got plenty of attention...

The cops weren't far away and it didn't take long for a bunch of them to head over in our direction and I did not want to go to jail...I just wanted to get home to my small town away from all these a holes...

The cops were very good to us...we told them what happened and just hauled her sorry butt off...she was kicking and screaming obscenities at all of us by that time..

A little while longer and we both able to catch a military standby on the same flight..
It was pretty neat because the airlines threw a couple of college hippies off the flight and gave us their seats....in first class

The hippies were pretty upset and starting bitching about us but the passengers in first class
(business class) booed them and applauded us...it was pretty neat...quite a few of them offered to buy us drinks..which we took them up on I am pretty sure...

True story...I don't care what this a hole says about it being an 'urban myth' the only urban myth here is the one he just created.. about these events...he is just another propagandizing left wing apologist liar

IMO
49 posted on 11/10/2004 3:59:42 PM PST by joesnuffy ("The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it." Horatio Seymour)
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To: mykdsmom
Note to Mr Llewellyn:

You are full of it,a$$hole. STFU!
Many of my Vietnam vet friends were spat upon and things even worse than that.
(Myself, I wasn't in Vietnam. I was a tad too old. However, My veteran friends are not liars)
You, Mr Llewellyn, Go To Hell and Burn!

50 posted on 11/10/2004 4:05:44 PM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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