Extract from interview with Claire Hall, 8 October 2008
Reproduced with permission of Brian Wilson
Victor Company rifleman Brian Wilson recalls a run in with anti-Vietnam War protesters outside his post-war workplace in Wellington.
So I never really had much trouble at all being a Vietnam vet until years later when I was working at IBM centre on The Terrace, in that building was the American Embassy. I came back from lunch one day, after a few beers naturally, and they were having an anti-American protest outside. The war was still going on, it was 1971-72. And they had a Viet Cong flag, a huge Viet Cong flag, draped across the front door of the IBM Centre, which was a big door, big automatic doors up these big wide steps. They were literally stopping people going in with this flag. And there were police there, and (the protesters) had loud speaker systems, and were chanting ‘LBJ, how many kids have you killed today’ and all this rubbish, carrying on. And I walked up the steps and walked straight to this flag, and kept on walking. And I walked on the flag, and of course that dragged it down out of people’s hands, and I just kept on walking….walked over the top and waked to the doors. And of course the doors opened automatic. And these guys were (makes angry, growling noise) and a couple of them tried to grab me. And the cops inside grabbed me and pulled me inside and said ‘What are you trying to do?’ I said ‘I’m a vet, I’m a Vietnam vet and I’m not having a Viet Cong flag draped across my doorway in my work area. So they just bustled me away and sent me upstairs in the lift, then we spent the afternoon dropping water bombs on them (the protesters) from my floor, which was quite interesting (laughs). So that was the only scuffle I had with the anti-Vietnam War movement really.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage