Lily Adams: Anti-War Vietnam Vet


My guest this past week on Wise Woman Storytime was Lily Adams. Her story begins when she is a young nursing student in the late 1960‘s and agrees to join the Army Nurse Corp with the commitment that she will NEVER be assigned  to serve in Vietnam.  The Pentagon reneged on this agreement and in 1969 this anti-war woman was serving in a war zone.

This is a story about a dedicated nurse who cared deeply for her patients despite her ideological differences with the war machine. While a story that begins over 4 decades ago, this country’s ongoing relationship to war and the erratic quality of care for our vets makes this story relevant today.

Unlike other returning soldiers and wartime personnel in previous wars who were met with parades and joyful festivities celebrating them and their service, Lily was met with an apathetic society and a hostile attitude. Warned not to wear her uniform in public, paled to the attitudes of the Veterans Organizations who shunned and distanced themselves from these war weary men and women.

Unwilling to sit idly by, Lily was part of a cadre of veterans who founded Vietnam Veterans of America who; worked tirelessly to ensue that Vietnam Vets would get the direct services they needed to deal with effects of PTSD; sought out researchers to study the effects of Agent Orange; found ways to support women veterans; wanted answers to where our POW’s were and what happened to those missing in action.

Today, keenly interested in environmental issues and still dedicated to anti-war policies and actions, Lily told us about the Living Peace Wall that was installed in downtown Sebastopol on October 6th.  Located across from the town plaza, just west of the Rialto Cinemas the wall is dedicated to peace activists and those who have worked nonviolently for peace and justice. 

Like many of us of us who find the mainstream media not asking probing questions and lacking in-depth and comprehensive coverage, Lily seeks her news and current events from the alternative media.  Amy Goodman and Truthout are two of her favorite resources.  

The audio of the show is posted below. 

 By Roberta Teller