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Sunday April 20, 2014
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Homecoming, 1965

 

continued

As a whole, the International Days of Protest have often been judged a failure. Polls found a significant increase in the number of Americans expressing support for the war after the demonstrations.

In Ann Arbor, however, the protests seem to have had the opposite effect. A month later, local veterans' organizations held a Veterans Day march downtown to show support for U.S. policy in Vietnam. Despite a huge publicity blitz in the patently pro-war Ann Arbor News, the parade was sparsely attended.

As the war in Vietnam wore on, opposition to it grew, and school spirit and peace activism began to seem more compatible. By 1969, more than half the floats in the homecoming parade had an antiwar or peace theme. In 1971 two-thirds of the football team endorsed an antiwar halftime show at the homecoming game, where a group of Vietnam veterans released 100 black balloons to represent the war dead. In solemn tones the announcer proclaimed the weekend's theme: "Bring all the troops home now. Let's have a real homecoming this year."

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