On April 29, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans held a rally in Washington D.C. complete with press coverage and speeches from congressional supporters. Peaceful, well choreographed, and pretty much by the book for modern day political rallies in the nations capitol.
Things were a little different in 1932 when thousands of veterans of World War 1, the Great War, converged on Washington D.C. The Bonus Army, as they were called, was there to demand payment of bonus money promised after their service in WW1. The bonus money was actually a deferred payment but the Great Depression hit the veterans hard and they were trying to get legislation passed for immediate payment. Legislative efforts failed and the 20,000 strong Bonus Army was driven out of their encampments by the Army, led by none other than General Douglas MacArthur. When they public saw the newsreels of the actions taken by their government against these veterans the reaction was none to favorable. President Hoover’s reelection bid was harmed by these actions. It was several years later that Congress was finally able to pass legislation allowing the early payment to the WW1 veterans.
Here is a good video with an overview of the Bonus Army.
And now for a little foot-tapping music, Pay Me My money Down from the Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen.
Peace & solidarity,