We call upon the moral leaders and elected officials of the United States to take appropriate notice of the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre on March 16th, 2018.
To their and our enduring shame, US soldiers deliberately killed 504 innocent civilians, including women, children and grandparents. More would have died but for the bravery of a US helicopter crew led by Hugh Thompson. The Pentagon successfully hid the story for twenty months until publicly exposed by Ron Ridenhour and Seymour Hersh. Only Lt. William Calley was held responsible by court martial, but was simply confined to quarters until paroled after three and a half years.
The 50th anniversary of My Lai is an appropriate time not only to honor the victims and the opponents of that infamous event, but also to recall less known and still unknown atrocities of the war. We must also acknowledge the immorality inherent in foreign interventions that continue to impose the mass destruction of modern weaponry and armed forces into traditional village life.
This anniversary is an occasion for our nation to begin to address the millions of deaths of innocent civilians during the American war in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos and to take responsibility for the ongoing humanitarian legacies from land mines, unexploded ordnance and the defoliant Agent Orange.
We call for public vigils at noon on Friday, March 16, 2018 nationwide and at the White House.
Weekend religious services should include attention to My Lai and similar massacres and the moral obligation to heal the enduring wounds of war.
Educational programs should offer veterans an opportunity to speak of their own experiences as done courageously during the Winter Soldier hearings.
We urge the United States government to release all archived information about atrocities by US forces that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and to increase humanitarian and medical assistance to help people still affected by the war in Indochina and in the US.
Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee