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      Talks Continue with Pentagon Over Vietnam Commemorations

      Members of the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee in front of Arlington National Cemetery before their January 12 meeting with Pentagon officials. (Photo: David Cortright, 2015)Statement released by Tom Hayden, David Cortright, John McAuliff, Marge Tabankin & Terry Provance, on January 12th, 2015 meeting with Pentagon officials:

      We are pleased to report progress in talks with Pentagon officials over avoiding the most serious problems we find in their official narrative of the history of the Vietnam War. At a January 12 meeting at Ft. Myer, Pentagon officials told us they were no longer planning educational materials or curricula containing the Pentagon views of the war. They are taking steps to form an independent review committee of respected historians to address problems with their original narrative, and will accept input from historians we suggest. Further, they arranged a meeting for us and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which is developing an independent educational project at the Vietnam Memorial Wall. That meeting was fruitful, and we look forward to further discussions to include the importance of the anti-war movement in the Vietnam crisis which shook so many of our country's assumptions and turned millions of our generation against the government.  We concurred in the Pentagon's continuing effort to recognize the service and sacrifice of Vietnam era veterans, noting that honoring can never mean distortions of the often-bitter and divisive truths, which our whole generation experienced. Nor does it lessen our continuing concerns about subsequent US wars into the present day. 

      We will continue these constructive talks as we move forward to our April 30-May 2 conference and commemoration on the 50th anniversary of the first teach-ins and protest against the Vietnam War. 

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