Alec Presley, Kent State Post 7

Since my last blog post, most of my research has been spent trying to follow up what I talked about there. Now as anyone who read the comment I left on that last blog post would know, there was trouble with my email, so nothing actually got sent. Obviously I have since resent those emails.

The wounded former student that I emailed, Alan Canfora, was very understanding of the mishap. I sent him several questions, but he told me he only did interviews over the phone or via Skype. He also mentioned something about including other students, which gave me the idea to ask my group mates Cynthia and Kelly. The three of us did the interview via phone on Sunday.

The conversation lasted a little under a half-hour. We all took turns asking our questions, and Mr. Canfora gave each one an insightful answer.

One of the things I wanted to know was why he decided to stay at Kent State, and if that was something a lot of the survivors did. I didn’t get a super clear answer to the first part, but he did tell me that a majority of the injured did stay at the university.

Because I’m doing my project on the reaction to the photo, I wanted to find out how survivors were treated. His answer was that for some people it was big deal that earned him some respect, but the vast majority of people treat him like a regular person.

The closest I got to actually asking about the picture was when I asked his opinion of the media coverage of the shooting. He said that for the most part he was okay with it, but he didn’t like that the news had to report the National Guard’s “three big lies,” that 1) the students shot first, 2) that the closet student was five feet away, and 3) that there wasn’t an order to fire.

Overall the interview went well. Cynthia and Kelly will probably describe the answers they got in their blog post. While I didn’t gain any new info on my photo specifically, the perspective of a student who lived through the attacks is invaluable for the project.

I am yet to reach the other person I tried to email, Marry Ann Vechio, the subject of the picture. However, I should be doing that within the next week or so.


Military Action in the March to the Pentagon

It may seem that with the March to the Pentagon that the police and soldiers were the bad people here. I know while reading newspaper articles about this protest that the police may have seemed a bit brutal to the protestors. Before the protest, newspaper articles were released to the public notifying the people that U.S. forbids lawlessness at the Pentagon.

The newspaper article informed the people that the justice department were in charge of thousands of civilian police, military police, paratroopers, and national guardsmen who were working the protest.

The article informed that the permit issued for the protest against the government was given because the government “deeply believes” that “the right of expression are central to our country’s freedom.” However, the permit did lay down ground rules on where and when the protestors can demonstrate and make speeches. In the article it was quoted that “The conditions of this permit are designed to assure the safety and security of our nation’s capital. These are reasonable conditions and we intend to enforce them.”

“A government that is determined to assure freedom of assembly and expression will to tolerate lawless or disorder. This must be understood by those who are coming to Washington this weekend. Let no one be mistaken – the granting of a permit is not a license for unlawful conduct. This a free country, but it is also a law abiding one. We will do whatever is necessary to maintain law and order.” With this being said, I believe it gives the protestors a very fair warning that their actions would result in whatever was necessary to obtain the law and safety, this just happened to be violence at times.

I have not found any evidence at all with Jan Rose Kasmir  taking part in any violent acts in the protest. Jan is a very peaceful woman and I believe to be very smart by making the protesting choices she did to get her message across.

Megan Ortmeyer – “LBJ taking the oath” Post 7

This week I focused on diving into the Oral History interview of Judge Sarah T. Hughes that I ordered and received from the North Texas State University Oral History Collection.  The interviewer was Dr. Fred Gantt.

This Oral History interview, true to its name, basically tells Judge Sarah T. Hughes’ life story.  After attending a girls’ college, Hughes went on to become a teacher for two years, but after those two years she discovered that she wanted to follow in her male cousin’s footsteps and study law (Hughes, 2).  She became a police woman in 1919 in Washington D.C. so that she could pay for night school (Hughes, 2).  This is all very significant because this was before women even had the right to vote in the United States.  Judge Sarah Hughes was clearly a confident woman who believed in and knew what she was capable of, thus, not letting anyone hold her back.  If she would have let others hold her back then she would not have ended up on Air Force One giving Lyndon B. Johnson the oath of office.

In these series of interviews, she speaks of her experience as a lawyer and her experiences with women rights.  She gives detail to detail accounts about her journey in politics and about when and where she met numerous presidents of the United States, thus, that eventually led to her becoming the judge that swore in Johnson.  In the interviews, she also speaks about her different beliefs and the different grounds she took on political issues; which is extremely important because it became relevant to the reason why she was chosen to admit the oath of office to Lyndon B. Johnson, instead of one of the other judges.

Next week I will continue to go through the numerous interviews with Judge Sarah T.  Hughes, and touch more specifically on her friendship with Lyndon B. Johnson.  These interviews will play a predominant role in my paper.


Hughes, Judge Sarah T., interview by Dr. Fred Gantt. Interview with Judge Sarah T. Hughes (January 15, February7, February 28, March 21, April 11, May 16, May 27 1969).

Blake Mooney- Shell Shock Blog 9

For this blog I found a document that talks about the battle of Hue, and how it was fought between the marines and the Viet Cong. The author talks about how the VC planned their attack of Hue during Tet on January 31st 1968. The VC knew there were going to be many people in the city, and they knew they could take them by surprise. The VC were even going to be able to use the weather to their advantage, because of the heavy haze, the allies would be unable to perform an air strike. The VC were not fighting this battle on a last minute basis, they had been planning it out for a long while, knew exactly when and where they needed to be, thus giving them an advantage over the US troops.

Hue was a very large city, so obviously the VC knew that attacking Hue would have a huge impact on South Vietnam, especially if they took them by surprise. In this document, the author goes into quite a bit of detail when he talks about the layout of Hue. He mentions that the Perfume River separates the town. The northern side of the town is walled with tall thick block walls, and a wide semi deep mote surrounds the southern side. Since the VC had snuck themselves into the town, these defense mechanisms did more harm than good, trapping people in the city.

During the attack, there were only about 200 US troops inside the city, and the closest base was about 8 miles away. This gave the VC even more time to get the upper hand. Utilizing their advantages, the VC was able to cause substantial damage to the town and people, but this battle was not a short one. Battle of Hue lasted until March 2nd, and many people were killed or injured, troops and civilians. This battle was later called “The Hue Massacre”. This is a great article, very informative and helpful, it gives you a great insight into the battle.


Self Immolation Post 7- Rachel Millsap

My research this week has led me to a very helpful scholarly article I found while searching through Google Scholar. The article is titled “A Struggle to Contextualize Photographic Images: American Print Media and the ‘Burning Monk’” and was published in Communication Quarterly in May of 2009. The recent publication date of the article is helpful in the sense that I am able to see the new emerging thoughts on Browne’s photo, and how scholars today classify the importance of the image. The authors of the piece argue that the images provided insight for the general population of America that had previously not paid much attention to South Vietnam. Another main point the article focuses on was the split in the media between reporting the images and South Vietnam itself as either a place of religious persecution, or the forefront of a war in which the citizens were fighting for freedom from the communists. The essay also talks in depth about the problems that arose for the public to be able to contextualize the culture and country of South Vietnam as a whole, hence the title of the piece.

This article is very helpful with my paper, and I plan on weaving in the scholarly opinions of the authors alongside the many newspaper articles and other primary sources I have found. Most importantly, the article asserts my previous belief that the image itself seemed to embody the problem of American involvement with both Diem and South Vietnam. Also of extreme importance to me is the bibliography listed at the end of the article that lists many notorious newspapers that either ran the photograph or an article that discussed the photograph explicitly within the week of Browne capturing the immolation. I plan on using the references listed and going to look at microfilm within the next week. Interestingly enough, every article listed within the major newspapers was not found on page one. Instead, most were found within pages three, four, or five. I will be able to analyze the initial impact of the photo from a journalistic standpoint better once I get a look at the microfilm, but I am surmising that the guesswork I have done far with my primary sources will be further proved.

Parker LiaBraaten- Saigon Evac Post 8

By reading articles in Reporting Vietnam, I was able to get an understanding of how the South Vietnamese responded to the United States evacuating from Saigon. Before the evacuation thousands of Vietnamese refugees were fleeing from the Communist attacks and pressure closing in on areas around Saigon. One writer talked about watching a tide of people walk by who could not even be directed by soldiers shooting guns into the air because the Communist tanks were scarier than the South Vietnamese soldiers M16s. These Vietnamese knew that their lives would be in danger when the Communists arrived, and their fear showed.

In a past post I talked about the madness of the evacuation from the perspective of a US officer trying to direct and get people loaded, but this article gave me insight on the madness from the perspective within the crowd. One correspondent had to scratch and claw his way through the mob around the embassy trying to reach the wall, and he later said, “We were like animals.” In this madness, he was punched, offered a baby, and he promised to adopt a boy. He ended up getting the attention and help from a marine who literally pulled him over the wall into the embassy. The Vietnamese knew that their lives would be in grave danger when the Communists arrived. One Vietnamese woman had worked for the US for ten years, but went home to poison herself because she knew that even if she made it to the air base she would not be allowed on a plane.

In another article, a US Captain talked about how he was lied to at the very end of the evacuation and would have refused the order if he has known the truth. He was ashamed and when talking about the last hours he said, “You saw deceit. You saw how we let this country down to the very end.” The lie he talked about was when he was told to arrange people in groups, get them ready to leave, and to tell them that they would be evacuated. He said that even the Vietnamese firemen who helped him were left behind.

In previous posts, I talked about the general lack of clarity present in the Vietnam War, but these articles exposed flat out lies. Another US officer was extremely upset that the US lied to its own people. He also said that he will be haunted by their betrayal to the Vietnamese people for the rest of his life. Evidently the order to immediately stop the evacuation came directly from President Ford.

This article ends saying that the last helicopter left hundreds of Vietnamese waiting for the next one which never came. Some knew it was a hopeless cause, but like those in the Saigon Evacuation photograph, many believed that the US would/could not leave them behind; especially after promising them refuge.

The evacuation of Saigon was received by the Vietnamese with feelings of betrayal, grief, and fear. The Americans that got out of Saigon felt guilty because their “passport to salvation” was their big nose– as the Vietnamese called it. It was reported that the general Vietnamese belief was that Americans could not be trusted. This proved true with the evacuation which not only left so many at the hands of the Communist invasion, but when US banks closed in Saigon weeks before, they left thousands of Vietnamese unpaid.