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THE VETERAN

Page 43

<< 42. A Tribute to John Prados44. Memories of Steve Klinkhammer >>

Louis De Benedette, ¡Presente!

By VVAW

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Louis De Benedette, perennial thorn in the side of the School of the Americas and member of the Clarence Fitch Chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, passed away in October 2022. He was 79. His anti-war history began after he joined the Army in 1966, when he quickly realized the war in Vietnam was contrary to his beliefs as a Catholic and told his commanding officer that "the war is immoral, and God does not want us to fight in it." He was eventually discharged from the military and returned to his home in Newark where he became a county welfare caseworker. While in New York City for an anti-war demonstration, Louie found a small group of Vietnam veterans under the banner Vietnam Veterans Against the War and joined VVAW. He was a committed member of VVAW and passed out copies of The Veteran for years.

He was arrested and jailed numerous times for anti-nuclear actions, and later he made many trips to Central and South America to bear witness against US war-making there. He wrote about these trips for The Veteran, and Ben Chitty noted in 1996 that "Brother Louis De Benedette, member of the Clarence Fitch Chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, has started his 4-month sentence for actions at the School of the Americas on Veterans Day 1995. Louie is incarcerated in the federal correctional facility at Otisville, New York, an old Army camp converted to a prison—Louie probably does not feel right at home..."

When the US began its Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Louie helped start a peace vigil on a busy Ithaca street corner, and these vigils continue on a weekly basis.

VVAW was very important to Louie as can be seen by his articles for The Veteran. "My VVAW brothers and sisters have stood by me during some very difficult times," he often said. Despite a significant lifelong mental illness, Louie remained committed to resisting militarism and was greatly valued by the peace and justice community.

Brother Louie, ¡Presente!


Louie De Benedette (far right) in Nicaragua.
Louie De Benedette in Peru.

<< 42. A Tribute to John Prados44. Memories of Steve Klinkhammer >>