US & Canada

Moratorium Day: The day that millions of Americans marched

15 October marks 50 years since the first Moratorium Day to end the Vietnam War.

Moratorium Day involved mass protests across the US. Religious services, rallies and meetings were held, aiming to bring the war to an end.

By this point, US troops had been fighting the Communist Viet Cong in Vietnam since 1965. About 45,000 Americans had been killed in action by the end of 1969.

Crowds gather in Boston Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In Boston, about 100,000 people marched on Moratorium Day - it was considered the largest protest the city had ever seen at the time
A small skywriting plane draws the peace symbol in the clear blue sky over Boston Common Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A skywriting plane drew the peace symbol in the sky above the Boston Common as thousands marched
Viola Woods, of Boston, waved an American flag and shouted, "Hooray for President Nixon," amid the crowd on Moratorium Day rally crowd on Boston Common, Oct. 15, 1969 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protests brought America's middle class and middle-aged voters out in large numbers for the first time
Demonstrators hold signs in Berkeley, California Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption At the time, Moratorium Day was believed to be the largest mass demonstration in US history with more than two million people taking part
A noontime crowd at Trinity Church on Lower Broadway gather as part of the national Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam (Moratorium Day) demonstration. October 15, 1969 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption New York saw a number of rallies across the city
Demonstrations in New York Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption At the New York State Theatre, there was a 12 hour chamber music vigil while about 2,000 doctors, nurses and hospital employees chose to march in protest
A group of protesters sit on New York City library Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protests helped put the anti-war movement in the national spotlight and into the mainstream news
Anti-war demonstrators on the steps of the US Capitol in Washington DC Image copyright AFP
Image caption Supporters of the Moratorium were pictured wearing black armbands. They paid tribute to those killed in action
Anti-war demonstrators fill the steps of the United States Capitol Building Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Anti-war demonstrators gathered in Washington DC, protesting on the steps of the US Capitol
Two children at rally in New York Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Following the Moratorium, President Richard Nixon went on national television to call for solidarity on the war effort
Aerial view of thousands gathered at Washington Monument November 15th during anti-Vietnam War Moratorium Day activities Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A further Moratorium took place on 15 November with hundreds of thousands of people marching in Washington DC

US deployment ended in 1973 after a ceasefire was established. Saigon eventually capitulated to the Communist forces on 30 April 1975.

All photos copyright.

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