While Woodstock Rocked, GIs Died - Richard K. Kolb, Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine - an excerpt follows:
With the 40th anniversary of the '60s cherished rock concert, the so-called "Sixties Generation" remembers fondly those four days in August 1969. Instead, VFW magazine commemorates the 109 Americans killed in Vietnam then.
Newsweek described them as "a youthful, long-haired army, almost as large as the U.S. force in Vietnam." One of the promoters saw what happened near Bethel (nearly 40 miles from Woodstock), N.Y., as an opportunity to "showcase" the drug culture as a "beautiful phenomenon."
The newsmagazine wrote of "wounded hippies" sent to impromptu hospital tents. Some 400,000 of the "nation's affluent white young" attended the "electric pot dream." One sympathetic chronicler recently described them as "a veritable army of hippies and freaks."
Time gushed with admiration for the tribal gathering, declaring: "It may well rank as one of the significant political and sociological events of the age." It deplored the three deaths there—"one from an overdose of drugs [heroin], and hundreds of youths freaked out on bad trips caused by low-grade LSD." Yet attendees exhibited a "mystical feeling for themselves as a special group," according to the magazine's glowing essay.
That same tribute mentioned the "meaningless war in the jungles of Southeast Asia" and quoted a commentator who said the young need "more opportunities for authentic service."
Meanwhile, 8,429 miles around the other side of the world, 514,000 mostly young Americans were authentically serving the country that had raised them to place society over self. The casualties they sustained over those four days were genuine, yet none of the elite media outlets were praising their selflessness.
So 40 years later, let's finally look at those 109 Americans who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam on Aug. 15, 16, 17 and 18, 1969...
... So when you hear talk of the glories of Woodstock—the so-called "defining event of a generation"—keep in mind those 109 GIs who served nobly yet are never lauded by the illustrious spokesmen for the "Sixties Generation."