Flag on the play

From Thomas Kraemer, Duvall, Washington:

Thank you for pulling all the threads together, the organizations, the government response, the events and the aftermath, of the 1971 Spring Offensive culminating in the Mayday blockade and mass arrests. Tremendous effort, beautifully done. I was one of the two thousand or so who were scooped up by police, visibly backed up by armed troops standing by, and bussed to the field adjacent to RFK stadium on May 3.

A signal event I witnessed on that crowded field was a young man who shinnied up a goalpost. What was he trying to do? He reached the top (35 feet in 1971 per my web search) and then pulled something from his pants. As he pulled it out, we saw it was the flag of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, the Viet Cong. That gutsy kid then managed to cling to the top of the post while tying the flag securely onto it, top and bottom. It was a message of defiance, telling the world that even here, herded into this field surrounded by armed guards in the capital city, these Americans would demonstrate sympathy for those whom our government labeled the enemy. There was just enough of a breeze to unfurl the flag proclaiming that defiance, that sympathy.

1 thought on “Flag on the play”

  1. Thanks for the vivid story. Displaying the Vietcong flag, of course, was controversial within the peace movement. While protesters generally considered it merely a radical antiwar symbol, many outsiders interpreted it as an explicit declaration of support for attacks by the Vietnamese guerrillas on American troops. Whenever it appeared, the flag certainly inflamed Nixon and his people, stoking the president’s worst impulses.


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