They attacked a draft board office to protest the Vietnam War. Fifty years later, the fallout continues.Breaking News
tags: Vietnam War, protests, antiwar activism
They thought their protest against the Vietnam War would have short-lived repercussions.
Early that sunny morning 50 years ago, Les Bayless, who was 22, his brother, Jonathan, 17, and Michael Bransome, 18, entered the empty offices of the Silver Spring, Md., draft board. They turned over file cabinets, emptied their contents and poured buckets of paint and blood,including some of their own, over draft registration documents.
In preparation, they’d had their blood drawn the day before by Mary Moylan, a registered nurse and a member of the radical Catholic draft resistance group, the Catonsville Nine, led by renowned priests Philip and Daniel Berrigan.
When the three finished demolishing the draft records, they wrecked the office equipment, throwing typewriters out the windows. The destruction on May 21, 1969, took about 20 minutes.
Then they patiently waited for the police to come.
“We did the most radical thing we could think of to help stop the war in Vietnam,” Les Bayless said in an interview.
Bayless said his group, which was soon dubbed the Silver Spring Three, notified a few reporters affiliated with the radical publications Ramparts and the Guardian. The journalists took photographs of the Bayless brothers and Bransome ransacking files and pouring blood and paint in the office.
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