Anti-Vietnam War Buttons

I collect a wide range of things from pin-ups to Pan Am to Zorro to vintage anti-war buttons…

Like sweetheart jewelry from WWII, these anti-Vietnam War buttons represent a very specific time in our history.  The 1960s were a turbulent time to say the least.  The United States was emerging from a rosy post-war haze into an age of civil rights and a war that divided a nation.  The Vietnam War was the first war that was truly brought into the home, with graphic images and body counts each evening on the television, which fueled the anti-war sentiment.  College campuses became places of protest as most our nation’s boys, as my mother puts it, “either heading over to Vietnam, already there, or coming home in body bags.” .

Youth were up in arms over what they thought was an unnecessary war and because many of who were being drafted couldn’t even vote for or against the politicians who were charge.  Until the passing of the 26th Amendment in 1971, you had to be 21 or older to vote, but once a male turned 18, he was eligible for the draft – hence the button “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote”.

My collection started when I saw the pin with the unhappy face which read “POWs Never Have a Nice Day”, a play on the popular “Have a Nice Day” smiley face buttons of the time.  Prior to collecting these pins, I had already owned a few Ike jackets, and I ended up pinning the button to the Ike jacket I was wearing that day and the tradition grew since I liked the idea of wearing anti-war buttons on a military uniform.  Additionally, these buttons, especially the Johnson related ones fall into my LBJ and Barry Goldwater memorabilia collection.

As you can see there are some that aren’t necessarily anti-war, as much as they are political, including pro-voting buttons, and anti-Johnson buttons.  Truth be told, I may wear these, but I don’t agree with all of them.  Johnson is in fact my favorite president, followed by Eisenhower, nor do I support taking LSD, I just think they are rather clever.

Outfit
Scarf and Sweater: Thrifted
Mini Skirt: Belonged to my Mother
Shoes: The Clothes Horse, Eugene
Ike Jacket: Flea Market in all likelihood.

2 thoughts on “Anti-Vietnam War Buttons

  1. What a terrific, meaningful slice of the past to collect. Canada didn’t really get involved with Vietnam (aside from being a place for some draft dodgers to try and seek refuge), unlike Korea and the two world wars before it.

    I would have protested the draft (and war itself) though with all my might if I’d been alive back then and old enough to do so, no matter if I lived in Canada or the US.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Amazing – those are clever slogans and an interesting way to protest. Gallipoli was the big war event for us here in Australia and it’s still big in popular culture, with lots of movies and tv shows and revival of old war posters ect. every year.

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