Published September 21, 2004
NELSON, British Columbia – After burning their draft cards during the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of Americans avoided jail by fleeing to Canada.
Many settled in the small town of Nelson, British Columbia (search), just across the Washington state border. Now, 30 years later, the mayor of Nelson and some other Canadians are planning to honor the draft dodgers with a two-day festival and a larger-than-life monument depicting a Canadian helping two scared American men.
Though the festival and statue unveiling are still two years away, the war of words is just beginning.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (search) leaders are outraged by the monument, as are others in the United States who see the plan as a slap in the face. Some have written to Nelson officials to say they’ll never visit the town again.
The Canadian government did nothing to discourage Americans from heading north of the border so many years ago. In fact, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (search) rolled out the red carpet, saying the draft dodgers had his complete sympathy.
Click on the video box near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Dan Springer.