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1969 Vietnam Moratorium Day; millions nationwide protest the war

October 15, 2021

1969 Vietnam Moratorium Day

By 1969, the US had been involved in the Vietnam War for over a decade and suffered over 40,000 casualties. Though many politicians insisted the war was necessary to stop the spread of Communism further into Asia, the conflict and the draft remained deeply unpopular across the nation.

When Richard Nixon assumed the Presidency on January 20, 1969, many Americans hoped he’d bring peace to the region. However, in practice, many of his policies seemed in line with Lyndon B. Johnson’s unpopular escalation.


The Moratorium grew out of anti-war activists recognizing a few things. One, a national day of action would put pressure on President Nixon to de-escalate the war. Two, the protestors needed to seem respectable, as anti-war protestors were stereotyped as hippies. And lastly, the day of action had to happen across the nation, and not in just one place. Originally, the call was for a general strike before deciding ‘Moratorium’ was a better word to use.

The activists chose October 15.

Day of Action

It’s unknown precisely how many people participated in the Vietnam Moratorium. Many major cities held marches that day, and it’s estimated that Coretta Scott King led about a quarter of a million people on a march in Washington, DC.


Sadly, the effect was not as hoped. President Nixon refused to be influenced, feeling the protests undermined US efforts to stabilize the region. In response, he gave his famous silent majority speech, and the phrase has been in use ever since.


  1. David Peters

    Where is the speech?

  2. donna norquist

    I was a sophomore in high school! I remember it well.

  3. Larry W Smith

    I wasn’t with the protesters. I was in Vietnam. I’m proud of my service there. I never understood all the protest and peoples attitude towards us when we got back. I disliked it so much I just stayed in the Army until 1995. It’s a shame it took 9/11 for people to appreciate us and the tough job we do. I don’t know why I was confused about the protest. Americans will protest damn near anything.

  4. Ted Herbert

    The Bridge over the River Kwai was part of that Effort by the Japanese to build a RR bridge over a wild river in the middle of the route through the jungle which was built mainly by POWs captured in the December 1940 invasion of singipore, the Philippines, and the vast majority of SE Asia, Right?

  5. Kattie Harris

    I love to learn .thank you

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