HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam veterans supporting John Kerry (search) for president made their case Friday in the heart of what was once enemy territory.
Calling President Bush (search) a draft dodger, the veterans in Hanoi donned T-shirts emblazoned with "Americans Overseas for Kerry" and showing Bush's face with a line crossed through it.
They said they share a brotherhood with Kerry, who was wounded in Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta (search) and received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
Their rally came a day after Kerry denounced a television ad sponsored by a Republican-leaning group that featured Vietnam veterans accusing him of exaggerating his service record.
The veterans and other American businessmen in Vietnam have ordered 100 T-shirts to sell for $5 apiece with the proceeds going to support Kerry's campaign.
"We had very serious disagreements among ourselves about the war, but the creed was that we never spoke ill of another veteran," said Chuck Searcy from Athens, Ga., who served in Vietnam from 1967-68 before joining the anti-war movement at home.
"That ethic has been violated in this election, and it's pretty shameful," he said.
The men had nothing good to say about Bush, who served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard during the war.
"The guy doesn't deserve to be called a veteran or a patriot or anything else," said John Lancaster, of Hamburg, N.Y., who lost the use of his legs after being shot near Hue in 1968.
"It's pretty egregious to have taken that path and then try to wrap yourself in a flag to send American servicemen to a war to die and get wounded," added Andre Sauvageot, a career military man who spent nine years in Vietnam.
Sauvageot, of Akron, Ohio, had served as Kerry's interpreter when he urged the Vietnamese government to help search for the remains of American soldiers still missing from the war.