Make Peace not War ~ Viet Nam Veterans Arrested on Lexington Green ~ May 30, 1971

The twists and turns of life and the human condition are often unpredictable. On this day ~ May 30 1971 ~ our former United States Senator for Massachusetts – one-time Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and our current United States Secretary of State – the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser – John Kerry found himself not a law-maker or treaty-negotiator  but as a protester for peace on the historic Lexington Green. And the rest – as they say – is history! From the archive in 2012….

Viet Nam Veterans Arrested on Lexington Green ~ May 30, 1971

May 30, 2012 by Marie Posted in Greater LowellHistoryPolitics Leave a Comment

At the iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Monday May 28, President Obama began a national commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War. “In an opinion column published today [May 28, 2012] in the military’s  Stars and Stripes, the President reminds that it was in January 50 years ago the first U.S. Army helicopters helped to ferry South Vietnamese troops out into the jungle near Saigon, ushering the U.S. into long years of combat in  Southeast Asia.  The President declares in Stars and Stripes that  the U.S. will never stop searching for the 1,666 Americans still missing.” (Ann Compton, ABC NEWS)

This is a repost of an article from May 30, 2011 on the 40th anniversay of this Lexington Green event.

John Kerry, a director of the Vietnam Veterans against the War, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations committee April 22, 1971. (UPI)

MassMoments reminds us this morning that on this day May 30, 1971, hundreds of anti-war protestors  – in an operation organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War – occupied Lexington Green. Viet Nam veteran John Kerry had emerged as a leader of the VVAW. Earlier that spring, the future Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate testified at a nationally televised Congressional hearing. Arguing that the war was wrong, he posed the now famous question, “How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” His appearance was a catalyst for this Paul Revere-like march and protest when they would “alarm the countryside”— sounding a message that the war was unjust and must end.

 On this day…

…in 1971, over 450 anti-war protesters occupied the historic Lexington Green and refused to leave. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War had organized a three-day march from Concord to Boston — Paul Revere’s route in reverse. According to Lexington’s by-laws, no one was allowed on the Green after 10 PM, so the selectmen denied the protesters permission to camp there. With many townspeople supporting the veterans, an emergency town meeting was held. When no agreement was reached, the veterans and their Lexington supporters decided to remain on the Green. At 3 AM on Sunday, they were all arrested in the largest mass arrest in Massachusetts history. After being tried, convicted, and fined $5.00 each, they continued their march to Boston.

Read the full article here at

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