This is a place where those who knew and loved Dave may share their memories. If you'd like to sign this guestbook, please use the form at the bottom of the page.
The Dave Cline Memorial Guestbook
9/16/07 at 21:57— Sibley Judson Smith, Jr. writes:
Dave Cline was my personal connection to VVAW and VFP. I met him soon
after I scored my job at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and the Vietnam Era Educational Center museum and library. He helped make
sure plenty of VVAWers and VFPers would show up to give audience if I
presented a guest speaker who was VVAW or VFP. He gave me my first
VVAW button. I took that as a sign he felt I was a good friend to
VVAW and VFP. I finally became an associate member of VVAW, primarily
as a sign of appreciation to Dave. I kinda felt like he was my VVAW
big brother. I knew this day was not long in coming. It was not hard
to see the physical toll his Vietnam Experience was having on him. And yet, you'd see him in the line of march, keeping up with his new younger
brothers of IAVW. He was always so active -- helping me imagine we'd
still have his company for a while, and I'd again have the chance to
shake the hand of this, for me, historic icon, representing the
organization that caught my attention 40 years ago, when I was barely
a teen, and that taught me a lesson I have tried to share with others --
"Hate the War / Honor the Warrior." I will miss this warrior for Peace.
I will miss Dave Cline. Rest in Peace, Big Brother. Rest in Peace.
Sibley Judson Smith, Jr.
9/16/07 at 22:03— Billy Kelly writes:
Dear Friends of Peace & Justice For All,
"Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
General Douglas MacArthur
The old General Had it wrong. Soldiers do die. But the 'Winter Soldier' does not fade away and go easily into the night. David was/is the epitome of that soldier. He always was and will be a true soldier. Always leading the fight. For many years he was our Commander in Chief. One who led from the front. I was extremely proud to have known him and will rededicate myself to continue the fight.
Many of us 'old' and 'not-so-old' soldiers will wage the real war. The one to bring decency and humanity to our people and to show our brothers and sisters in the world that we are one with them.
The guidon will be picked up and carried proudly. IVAW carries it now. There will be no gap in our lines.
"I'm still a soldier. I'm just not their soldier anymore." Stan Goff
We'll all be telling stories about David for years to come and in that way we will ensure he remains with us and an integral part of our army.
Recently, David accompanied several Viet victims of Agent Orange on a trip to meet some congressmen in DC. On the bus trip home, David, in his inimitable way, began to compare wounds with a seriously ill former opponent. The next day at a gathering of supporters, David presented this ex-Viet Cong soldier his Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf clusters. Nguyen Van Quy was delighted and so proud to have it pinned onto his suit. It was a gesture that could only come from David.
Sadly Quy and another Viet on the trip Hong died from Agent Orange complications soon after returning to Viet Nam.
And now David.
9/16/07 at 22:09— David Ewing writes:
A Tribute to Dave Cline by his old friend, Martin Zehr.
The union hacks in postal called him a "chronic malcontent";
And how right they were.
Never giving up the fight, never conceding defeat.
The work he did is our legacy,
They vision he held our hope.
A future without him is left missing a link,
The chains he sought to break are weaker for his work.
Stand fast vets!
Honor the combatants for justice,
The malcontents who strive for better,
March arm in arm
Fists raised in defiance.
End the ceaseless slaughters,
stop the bloody carnages.
Dave's work is done,
our work remains.
Dewey Canyon III is the memorial
That negates all the lies,
Formed from the anger of GIs
Never willing to surrender.
Chronic malcontents in their generation,
Never satisfied by empty lies,
Organizing for a better wolrd,
Leaving it with much undone.
The Russian poet, Tyutchev wrote:
"Blessed is he who visited this world
In moments of its fateful deeds:
The highest Gods invited him to come,
A guest, with them to sit at feast
And be a witness of their mighty spectacle."
9/16/07 at 22:10— Gordon Soderebrg writes:
Founding member of Vietnam Veterans Against The War, and former president of Veterans for Peace and labor rights activist has passed away.
I met David in July of 2004. It was my first Veterans For Peace convention in Boston. I had just joined the organization and drove out from California in the Spirit of Garberville Veterans For Peace Bus to support the creation of IVAW.
I was inspired by his ability to be direct and cut through the bull that often comes with peace organizations and the differences of opinions and egos involved. I was impressed by the fact that he made me feel that although the struggles we faced were hard and sometimes fruitless, they were always worth while.
I did not see him again until 2005, when I drove out to the next VFP convention in Impeachment Tour Bus Dallas, TX. While there, we had our own differences of opinion about how to support Cindy Sheehan's goal of meeting with the Shurb in Crawford. But even when we were at odds with each other, he always listened and respected me, even though I did not treat him the same way. When it came to the end of Cindy's vigil in Crawford, hurricane Katrina was about to hit New Orleans. We began to plan a relief effort. Again, we had our differences about weather Veterans For Peace should be doing a relief effort. Even though we disagreed and I got very mad and yelled a cussed him out, he always respected our dedication to do something.
After he came to New Orleans to see what we were doing, met with Malik Rahim of Common Ground in October he saw that what we were doing was in fact both a peace action and relief effort. Though we still yelled at each other about tactics, he always was willing to listen and supported our efforts.
The next spring during the March form Mobile to New Orleans we were able to come together on tactics and mission and share a week with without a single argument. Maybe we had come to some sort of understanding without saying anything about the past. I'll never know. Maybe, I had grown up a little by then.
That was the last time I saw him. He was happy. He was also impressive to watch, as he encouraged the IVAW members to take a leadership role in the March to New Orleans. (http://neworleansvfp.ning.com/video/video/show?id=724261:Video:508)
He did not speak in public until the last day in Congo Square. Then, he spoke of our efforts volunteering to help rebuild the gulf coast when the National Guard was in Iraq. He gave credit to those of us who did what many would not.
He was a true leader and supporter at the same time. Of all the people I have met before or since in the peace and relief movement, he has was the most inspiring to me. And though we never had a chance to talk about what came between us, I'm not sad about it. I know that it did not matter to him, because he was always supporting the mission and anyone who was willing to stand on a line, even if the tactics being used were in dispute at the time he. I will always remember that. And I guess, that is what he would want. Thank you David, Lead on!
9/16/07 at 22:11— Dennis O'Neil writes:
To follow on Pat's notification, there is a tribute to Dave posted at the Fire on the Mountain blog.
<http://firemtn.blogspot.com> (and one to Bill Davis only a week or so earlier. Please feel free to forward the comments on Dave to whomever).
Stan Goff has also written on this great loss at:
9/16/07 at 23:23— Daughters of Vietnam Veterans writes:
On behalf of my sisters from Daughters of Vietnam Veterans, we lovingly send our condolences to the VVAW, IVAW, and Dave's family and friends. We are saddened by your loss since many of us know what it feels like to lose a great man in our lives.
9/17/07 at 05:18— Alfred Kovnat writes:
Dave was one of the finest out spoken person I ever meet. He was sincerely for peace and human love for all people. He knew who he was and who we all are as just people of the world just trying to service and achieve a little happiness in life. He found love and respect in all people and it saddens me that a great shinning star has departed this world. He will be missed very much and if just l0 percent of the people were like Dave we would not have any wars again and no racisiam in the world. We have to carry on with the great work he has done to unite people especially Vets against wars.
9/17/07 at 08:37— Wm. Terry Leichner writes:
Dave Cline, VVAW and VFP activist, died September 15, 07 after a long struggle with illness. Dave was a combat veteran severely wounded in Vietnam. His health was never that of the young man he was on his return from Vietnam.
But Dave knew there was something terribly wrong with his country's leadership and the path it had taken in Vietnam.
Dave Cline never stopped being a patriotic American. He just came to realize patriotism wasn't blind acceptance of policies that fostered injustice and oppression.
Dave Cline had a better vision for his country. He saw a country that lived up to the words of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
He was a "winter soldier" that stayed the course of patriotic citizenship even in the dark times of our country.
He was rejected by those who failed to understand the responsibiltiy of being human, being citizens of the world and being patriotic.
He demonstrated that the ultimate responsibilty of citizens was overseeing the actions of their government to prevent tyranny, immoral violence and injustice and oppression.
Stan Goff (The Feral Scholar) wrote an eloquent article about Dave on his website. Many who knew Dave or had been fortunate to be around him have left comments about this brother that we all knew as a true American hero.
I'm going to post my comments to Stan about Dave on this site because I want as many of you as possible who didn't know Dave to know about him and his values.
Peace to all on this day we come to accept the loss of a man who cared so passionately for justice and peace and walked the walk. His legacy and the struggle will carry on.
I marched with Dave without knowing him during Dewey Canyon III, I marched with him in D.C. following Camp Casey (Sept 05) and I marched with him during the march from Mobile to New Orleans in the Veterans and Survivors March.
I feel blessed to have been in the company of one of our true American heroes; a man willing to stand up in the face of his country's misguided and immoral actions.
Dave personified the "winter soldier" unwilling to give up his country to the evil of racism, imperialism, misogyny and the many tyrannical forces attempting to usurp "the people".
I have photos I was fortunate enough to take that caught the passion and the joy that resided in the heart of Dave.
His smile was one that lighted up a room or a field he was standing in with a circle of comrades just wanting to be near him.
Besides the powerful words Dave spoke for ending the oppression he clearly saw in the actions of his country's "leaders", my lasting memory of Dave will be on the march to New Orleans near the Vietnamese section we stayed at before going to Congo Square.
A young woman had a small harmonica on a key ring which Dave happened to notice as we were taking a break on the roadside leading into NOLA. Dave asked her if he could see the harp and when she gave it to him he broke into a blues riff and seemed to almost be dancing as he played.
After Dave stopped playing with those of us standing around him laughing and amazed, he flashed a big grin at us.
I know there are so many that knew Dave much better than I did but the short time I did have being around him gave me reason to know I was in the presence of a brother who cared about people, cared about injustice and cared about more young brothers and sisters being exposed to the horrors of war once again for no legitimate reason.
I also know Dave cared about the people of the world that became victims of our aggression and insane dependence on violence by means of an arsenal of weapons capable of killing in every gruesome way imaginable.
Dave's advocacy for not only veterans but the Vietnamese people afflicted by the American use of Agent Orange was testimony of his belief we are citizens of the world before anything else.
I thank Dave and Stan for emphasizing that citizenship throughout the march to New Orleans.
I got word in the darkness of the night which my own personal insomnia often takes me to that Dave had passed.
Despite the few times I had to be around him, I felt I'd lost a member of my family...a brother. I realize today that's exactly what Dave was. He was our family.
I woke this morning and looked at the headlines of the mainstream newspaper and the idea the passing of the American hero, Dave Cline, was missing in the pages of that paper stung me like a slap in the face.
We are the keepers of the light of freedom Dave Cline kept burning. We have his example of perseverance and enduring passion for justice to honor and keep alive.
If there is any monument Dave Cline would want most, it seems it would be a unified movement carrying on the struggle he so righteously exemplified.
As I remember Dave yelling in a church we visited during the veterans and survivors march...."Can I get a witness!!".
Be at rest, Brother Dave. Let us take it from here.
Wm. Terry Leichner, RN
Denver VVAW member
USMC combat veteran ‘67-68 (RVN)
9/17/07 at 09:04— Elton Manzione writes:
Dave and I were fellow Jerseyites but Dave was really more a planetary citizen.. We shared some good talk,good beer and good times there on Kennedy Blvd in Jersey City. He leaves a fine legacy and difficult boots to fill.
9/17/07 at 09:57— Aaron M. Davis writes:
My heart is heavy with sorrow. We have not only lost a brother, a leader, but most important a peaceful warrior.Thanks Dave for your friendship and the work for world peace. Rest in peace dear brother. Aaron Davis VVAW and VFP member Salt Lake City, Utah
9/17/07 at 10:25— Cesar Ruvalcaba writes:
I didn't know Dave Cline personally, but as a speaker my self, I can only start to sympathize the long road that both Dave cline and Bill Davis have been on. While they are huge monumental Veterans, preaching peace after what they have expeirenced, there are recruiters infiltrating parede's on segways and hummers trying to ruining the hard work Dave and Bill did while proudly showing off medels they got for killing people for personal gain. The faces that should be rememberd like those on Mount Rushmore are of Veterans whom protect this Country not by sending children to get killed to a Foreign country but by diplomacy, while educating the future, like Dave Cline and Bill Davis and those before them.
9/17/07 at 11:14— Joseph Miller, VVAW National Coordinator writes:
I first came to know Dave when I was elected to a National Office position back in 1991. Prior to that, my first Dave Cline "experience" was to witness a powerful speech he gave at Kent State in 1990 during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the murders of students there and at Jackson State. From then on, I could always count on Dave to cut through the crap with his speeches. We served together as National Coordinators of VVAW in recent years, and his clarity and commitment will be missed. To lose two great comrades in the space of a week and a half is a body blow to VVAW. But, as always, we will keep on keepin' on! Bill and Dave would expect nothing less.
9/17/07 at 11:32— Bob McCafferty writes:
Dave if there is a God that is just you are there with Him now. You have fought not with guns, grenades, rockets and bombs, but with copassion. You fought for truth, for justice, for forgiveness with the love for your fellow man. You spoke out against the injustices of our country to others. You did not seek revenge for strong me can forgive, and weak men seek revenge. With your work with the Vietnamese, it was a request for forgiveness for your country for the gross injustice perpetrated against them in the name of "National Security". Dave I sign this with my tears.
9/17/07 at 11:37— Sanford D Cook (USA Ret) writes:
True warriors defend their nation even from itself. Thanks for being a true warrior.
9/17/07 at 11:39— CLINTON HEBARD writes:
I knew Dave slightly, through his association with NJ Peace Action. I knew him as a gentleman and a dedicated activist for peace.
9/17/07 at 12:04— Elaine Brower writes:
Althought I only knew Dave for a couple of years in the fight to end the war in Iraq, he was the epitomy of a true peace activist. We need more leaders of the movement like Dave! He inspired all, and was friend to many. Any time I needed direction or help about what to do when my son when off to Iraq, he gave me such sage advice. He helped me understand that you can love the warrior not the war. I am so sorry to see him go. I will miss seeing his lumbering figure always with a smile for those of us in the "fight!" Rest in Peace, and watch over all of us now.
9/17/07 at 12:27— Scott Rogers writes:
Good-bye friend. We are travelers on this earth for such a short time. I knew you for a few seconds of our walk to New Orleans in March 2oo6 but you left me with the gift of your elequence and honesty. I have respected few as I do you. You are a great person and give real meaning to the word patriot. So long, Brother.
9/17/07 at 12:35— Wilson (Woody) Powell writes:
REMEMBERING DAVID CLINE
by Woody Powell
“That’s no good. This is what I think.”
.. and a strategy would appear
tailored perfectly, fitting the problem
in the years-deep experience
of this remarkable man
who refused ever
to accept an injustice
-- or a half-baked idea
of how to confront it.
“That’s no good. This is what I think.”
.. words that could have raised my hackles
if I hadn’t respected
the thoughtful objectivity
that characterized perfectly,
the man, David Cline;
if I hadn’t respected
the humanity borne of suffering shared
driving him to labor
in this difficult vineyard
where the most abundant crop
David listened, watched closely,
wary of bullshit,
challenging us all to think,
to really know our minds
before forging a message or
designing an action.
“Yeah. That’ll work.” Or “Good idea.”
.. and the clouds of doubt would part,
actions would form
our struggles would elevate
to new heights of significance.
David lead the unleadable;
the misfits, if you will,
unwilling to buy lies
or empty promises of glory
He led us well,
with heart, with humor,
with wit and wisdom
and, most of all, with a keen awareness
of the faults we all live to overcome.
Thank you, David Cline.
September 17, 2007
9/17/07 at 13:11— Billy X. Curmano writes:
We’ve lost another inspirational point man. Words cannot express the admiration I’ve had for Dave Cline and his long and continuous struggle for peace and justice. I already miss his strong spirit, dedication, cadences, humor and guitar. In my heart, I am comforted in the possibility that there is justice somewhere in this crazy universe. I believe our comrade and brother, Dave, has found peace, tranquility and maybe even some sort of final reward for the sacrifices he’s made. By the same token, may the greedy bastards that perpetrate every form of injustice he fought against get their just desserts.
9/17/07 at 14:30— Curt Nelson writes:
I feel fortunate that in the few times I followed Dave Cline into the fray of marching for peace in Washington, DC I was in the presence of a committed patriot and an inspirational leader . I and many others benefitted from his true heroism.
9/17/07 at 14:38— Leigh Davis writes:
The first time I saw Dave, he was a speaker at the Waging Peace Conference, in May 2003, in New Brunswick, NJ. He was impressive in his presence, his passion, his understanding of what we were facing with this new war and what it would take to end it. I feel fortunate to have shot video of that speech. Since then, I've had the opportunity to work with Dave on the Vigil for the Fallen during the RNC and running into him at countless antiwar events. He seemed to be everywhere, and he was always ready with a hug. We may have lost Dave in the physical sense, but his spirit will continue to carry us forward toward justice and real peace.
9/17/07 at 15:01— James Starowicz writes:
That which you gave to All will live on, as will your Cadence Calls.
The 'Real Lessons' were not only voiced by you but they were a part of your character and that was seen by All who knew you or met you, or in this day and age, have watched the many online Video's of you speaking.
You lived your life as we All should, not just using words, all to common in this world, but trying to live by your words, an example to all around you!
Thank You Brother,
VFP Chapter 150
9/17/07 at 15:18— Patrick McCann writes:
I could tell you hundreds of stories about Dave, but I will save them for when we're together in person. The real deal is that we should make the American people, and people around the world, know of his contributions to peace. There is NO single American, perhaps no single human, who has contributed more to the fight against the war WITH (not in) Iraq. We need to think large, and even make the bourgeois media give him the respect he deserves. To quote the Godfather of soul, "Say it loud!"
9/17/07 at 16:40— Buddy Georgia writes:
As I add my name and thoughts to what will inevitably be a book by the time it’s complete, I can’t help but think what Dave would say. Probably, in my opinion, something like “What’s all this cryin BS? Don’t you have work to do?”. I feel blessed to have known him, and had the opportunity learn from him. We WILL continue the work he began all those years ago. We MUST continue. The reasons are clear, as is the need. Many of you have already spelled it out, so I will spare you, my Brothers’ and Sisters’ another redundant list of issues. As I have said before, the people whose names are on my IVAW shirt will go with me every time I attend an event. All of you are not only on my shirt, but in my heart. I believe it is no coincidence that what Dave wrote is close to my heart. You have accomplished something I hope one day to be able to add to my small list of achievements. “MADE A DIFFERENCE”! As we all in our own way mourn our loss, so we also celebrate your life. The world IS a better place because you were here. We will have a major party when we all meet on the other side. Until that day you have more than earned a place of honor, rest, and eternal peace. Buddy
9/17/07 at 17:01— Libero Della Piana writes:
I have only known Dave the past few years, but I count him as a friend. Whether it was working on the Agent Orange Justice tour or the visit by Madame Binh or building for some peace demo or another, Dave always made you feel welcome in the movement.
He had a great sense of humor and a deep resounding humanity, even when he was suffering deeply from his illness. Dave is really a hero.
One of the most touching moments I have ever experienced is when Dave gave his Purple Heart to Nguyen Van Quy, a Vietnamese veteran and Agent Orange sufferer who came to the U.S. to testify in the lawsuit against the chemical companies responsible for the poisoning of Vietnamese and U.S. soldiers alike. Mr. Quy just passed away this July.
Dave always knew who his friends were, and who was the real enemy.
I will miss you, brother.
9/17/07 at 17:12— George McAnanama writes:
I met Dave in 1973 and have considered him a brother veteran, a union brother, a mentor and sage analytical humane human. When I met David I still had my head in my duffle bag and he taught me in a very brief period of time what it meant to be a Winter Soldier. He led by example though we had issues from time to time. He was and still is my brother.We marched together many times over the last 30 plus years and I always followed his lead and advice. I found him to be one of the most inspiring people I ever met. I throughly enjoyed calling cadence with him and then for him, much of which he personally wrote. "Hey, Hey Uncle Sam , We remember Vietnam." as many know I had a love hate relationship with the NYC Vetarns Day Parade itself and the United War Veterans committee that runs it but Dave kept pushing me into the breach saying we had to be there because our message was unique. "Bring Them Home NOW!!! & Treat Them Right hen They Get Home."
...Tryanny like hell is not easily conquered...
Soldier On DC!
9/17/07 at 17:18— Hugh Roy Bruce writes:
I have only 5 years of memories accumulated about my friend David but they will last a lifetime, one made richer by having known him. Whether it was trying to sleep through his snoring at a Maryland motel or the way that he and our late brother Mike Pahios confronted some CUNY Neocons at O'Reillys pub in NYC, you always felt the presence of our Brother. Rest in Peace Dave, Hugh R. Bruce, VP, Chapter 34, Veterans for Peace, Metro NYC
9/17/07 at 17:24— Jose Vasquez writes:
Thank you for your leadership and tireless efforts. I always admired your ability to cut through the bullshit and get to the point. It was refreshing and laudable. We will soldier on in your honor.
9/17/07 at 17:52— Dave Kettenhofen, VVAW National Coordinator writes:
I first met Dave personally over lunch at a Kent State demo in 1990. He had just given one of the most powerful speeches I had ever heard and it brought the house down. He instantly became a hero to me in the veterans antiwar movement. Dave's relentless drive for righteousness should be emulated by us all. I feel privilaged and honored to have served with him.
9/17/07 at 18:21— Sandy Kelson writes:
Dave was a man who cared and who tried, and a working man's intellectual. I will sorely miss him as will the fighters for justice and peace.
9/17/07 at 19:55— Ward Reilly writes:
I'm having a very hard time with this one, because how can you express such great love on a computer?
I'm glad I was with Bill and Terry Perry Saturday morning, working on a VVAW banner for a protest in D.C., when Bill broke the news of Dave's death to me at 7am in the morning. I'm also grateful that so many of Dave's veteran brothers and sisters were together on Saturday in D.C. That helped us much, and it was somehow fitting. The morning started cloudy, but we decided that Dave had brought the sunshine that appeared so beautifully before the demonstration started.
My relationship with Dave went far beyond activism...we were both infantryman in the army during the Viet Nam era. Dave was in the 25th Infantry, and I was in the First Infantry, and we were both heavily involved in the GI resistance movement back then, his time in the infantry being several years before mine, and of course, he was in 'Nam, and I was in Germany, his experience being much, much harder than mine...but it was the same internal military fight worldwide, then, as it is now, again. Brotherhood defined.
The Viet Nam era GI Resistance was the most successful resistance movement ever carried out in our history, even though you wont read a word about it in U.S. history books. We ended that war from the inside-out, finally, by screaming "FTA", as one, during a long and bitter 6 years or 7 years. Dave was there in the early days, and I was there to finish it, and our lives overlapped in that way, then and now.
Starting in 2002, we both organized and waited (sadly) for the newest batch of mind-fucked troops that we knew would come filtering back into the nation from the Middle East, first from Afghanistan, and later from Iraq, so that we could be there for them, because nobody had been there for us but each other when we came home... and Dave was very proud that we were READY for these troops when they came home, searching for answers and truth. His involvement with the development of IVAW was his crowning achievement, in my opinion. He and I both know what the key to stopping this disaster is, that being internal military resistance, with help from all of us out here in the civilian world.
Dave WAS always by my side in the streets, and we had our feet on the same ground everywhere and anywhere the fight was being fought against these current "wars" and the war pigs...he's been out in the field during these last five years, in spite of being very ill. Activism was his way of life, 24/7, and he was a leader among leaders.
It was our personal and mutual fondness of music(especially guitar),love, weed, a drink or 10,and the desire to have just ONE day of peace in our lives, that made us close friends. He would call me up and say "man...check this song out", and I would listen to some killer blues song he discovered, or he would find some cool sound he discovered on his Martin acoustic, and play it over the line for me, and he'd be all excited... and we would talk about playing it together someday...he would try to teach me some new sound he discovered on the guitar neck...and sadly, there was almost always too much work to do when we were together in the field to take time for music or fun...fortunately for me, we got to spend a few days together with our guitars on the Veterans-Survivors March, and we got to play together both on and off a stage, the best jam being one while sitting around our fire one night in New Orleans at the Viet Namese village on the east side, playing anything that came up...a memory I will cherish forever. A few moments of pure beauty and peace.
We would talk for hours, kicking around ideas and strategies for the movement, and we would try to keep as current as was necessary on any given day in this infomercial society, in deciding what to do next out in the field. Dave didn't miss a beat, and he was always on top of any given subject or problem.
Dave was crushed that he couldn't be in Chicago for the VVAW 40th Anniversary events, by ORDER of his doctor(one of the few orders he ever followed) but somehow he managed to drag himself to St. Louis for the VFP and IVAW national conventions, and also to speak for the last time in public.
Dave was the consummate Grunt. I love Grunts, and I loved Dave, period. We never had a single argument. We were in tune with each other.
Today he is in his version of heaven, and he's asking his God what the fuck the problem is, and how can he fix it, NOW?!!!
Rest In Peace, and "Welcome Home" Brother Dave...if everyone worked for PEACE as hard as you did, we would truly all be living in heaven on Earth, in PEACE, actually getting to enjoy this short physical life. We never got there Dave, but not for the lack of trying.
I will fight on...as will many, in your honor, and in the name of sanity.
Love and all respect,and PEACE SOMEDAY from Ward
9/17/07 at 20:27— Peg Fallon writes:
I was only in Dave's company less than a handful of times at a few VFP meetings. His strength and faith in the VFP movement was amazing and he will always be remembered for his love of peace and justice. He asisted and supported so many men and women with his wisdom and actions. He is true American Hero and deserves to be honored for his time, talent and superior leadership role in our struggle for peace & justice.
9/17/07 at 21:03— jOE bangert- phl vvaw & at lrg writes:
I morn the passing of properly named Dave Cline- we were both VVAWers from neighboring states- NJ/PA- who delighted in slinging stones into the Eye of imperial Goliath- but soon the fall of the giants will avoid Historical Tension Span Deficit Disorder!
and in film too
Fellow Sir! No Sir Actor/Veteran/Activist
508 896 6258
9/17/07 at 23:55— Sandy Fulton writes:
I knew about Dave Cline’s death that day, from a friend’s phone call. I suppose we all expected it sooner or later, but it still came as a shock. That’s because we all loved and respected and admired Dave so much.
I remember the first time I met him, some years ago at a VFP meeting. I think I was the only woman vet there. So Dave lifted up his tee-shirt and asked, “Want to see my scar?” (Gulp -- that was some scar!) Yeah, he had a teasing sense of humor, too.
I remember a saying when I was young, back in the 50s: “We have met the enemy and they are us.” It was a stupid, self-defeatist saying, invented by a notorious right-wing cartoonist, Walt Kelly. You hear the same stuff spouted by New Agers today (“You must heal yourself first! You daren’t tackle society’s problems till you’re ‘centered’!”) -- whatever that is. Nonsense. Stuff like this is peddled to keep people muttering, “I’m not perfect enough. I can’t fight city hall—so why try?” The same people who peddle this tripe tell us that Freedom Is Slavery and brought us the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.
But Dave Cline always knew better, even as a kid soldier. Dave knew the enemy are the criminals, the exploiters, the ones who don’t care who gets hurt, the willfully ignorant who let it happen. And he went after ‘em! He knew that the enemy is not those who stay active as dissenters and who stand up to protest criminality, exploitation, uncaring, and ignorance. Dave was never the enemy. Dave didn’t wait around to become ‘centered’. He just went ahead and protested the crap he recognized, because he knew that with inspiration, intelligence and hard work, we CAN change things.
He helped do that. When 70% of Americans want the Iraq War to end soon, when similar percentages want to impeach the bastards who began it with lies, Dave was right there helping make these changes. Almost to the end Dave was working on some way to change the world for the better -- and with a song.
Farewell, Dave. With tears, we mourn you. You will be missed like an ache in our hearts. But we will carry on. You wouldn’t want it otherwise.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Veterans For Peace
Delaware Valley Veterans for America
9/18/07 at 00:13— S. Brian Willson writes:
Dave Cline, along with Clarence Fitch who preceded Dave into the next world, are two of the most profound anti-war grunts I ever met who, in addition, possessed an astute structural understanding of how capitalist war-making society functions, decade after decade. Knowing them from the 1980s, each was always present nearly everywhere, so authentic and unpretentious, in their passionate journeys and struggles toward peace and their absolute disgust of war and the political/economic structures that profit from sending off men and women to kill and die for a lie. Each of these beautiful souls was very instrumental in validating my own shaky recovery from being a typically conditioned, obedient White Male, a journey that first started in a flash moment while witnessing the after effects of an inhabited village that had just been vaporized by napalm in Vinh Long Province in April 1969. Presente! Presente! Presente! Your examples will shine forever! Thank you, thank you, so much for your example of walkin' the talk of truth and empowerment.
9/18/07 at 08:22— John Ketwig writes:
I rarely feel regrets, but today I am buried deep in sadness and regret. I live in far western New Jersey, in a rural area where the hills remind us of Virginia. I don't like traffic and congestion, and we very rarely go east. Yes, I live in New Jersey, and I have never attended a VFP meeting. Many saturdays I've had to work, but many others I've just found excuses because I needed to avoid the travel into unfriendly territory. Well, now I wish I had just one more opportunity to hear Dave Cline. Dave was a "regular guy" who was gifted. A brilliant man, utterly unselfish, he recognized the vision of peace on earth / good will toward all men and lived it, every minute of every day. He fought against hate and hypocrisy, speaking softly but always with a wallop. Dave was an inspiration to us all, and I only hope he has found his peace. How sad that we should lose him at this critical moment in our country's history. How wonderful that he was here for a while!
9/18/07 at 09:16— Mac Bica writes:
Dave Kline lived his life hard and never deserted his principles. He saw firsthand the folly and futility of war and could never put it behind him. While the struggle for peace and justice is often frustrating, we are bolstered by the life and memory of Dave Kline. The struggle will continue, but the world is a lesser place without the courage, dedication, and insights of this true warrior for peace.
9/18/07 at 09:52— Pham Binh writes:
What is below is an excerpt from a much longer tribute at my blog: http://prisonerofstarvation.blogspot.com/2007/09/dave-cline-veteran-father-fighter-hero.html
Dave's loss is hard to bear even for those such as myself who were not very close to him on a personal level. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this must be for his family. His loss is hard to because he was such a fine human being, a warm, radiant, down-to-earth stand-up working-class guy with a great sense of humor and an unbelievable dedication to the fight for social justice. His activism spanned almost four decades after returning from combat in Vietnam. I had the pleasure of working with him on and off again starting in 2002 at various anti-war demonstrations and events when it became clear that the Bush administration was going to risk the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis by invading Iraq.
After returning from Vietnam, Dave threw himself into the burgeoning anti-war movement and helped establish the Oleo Strut coffeehouse next to Fort Hood to do anti-war work among active-duty troops. An oleo strut is a shock absorber for a helicopter, and that's what what the coffeehouse was for troops returning from Vietnam and for those who were questioning or opposed to the war. This approach to doing political work - providing comfort and a social outlet in addition to politics - was one of the things that separated Dave and many anti-war veterans from the rest of the anti-war movement and the American Left.
At the coffeehouse, there was radical literature, bands played shows, and Dave helped publish a GI newspaper there. He also met Jane Fonda, whose Fuck the Army (FTA) tour travelled to Fort Hood and other bases around the world to entertain anti-war military personnel. At this time he also helped found and lead Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
At some point in the 1970s, Dave moved to New Jersey, worked at various jobs with the NYC Port Authority and became a union activist. Like most combat veterans, he struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and went through a few marriages.
Despite personal difficulties Dave may have faced, he fought the good fight. He fought the Veterans Administration for proper care and benefits for all Vietnam vets; he fought for both American and Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange; he fought against America's murderous intervention against the Central American revolutions in the 80s fearing that it would turn into another Vietnam; he stood up against the attack on Panama, the Gulf War, and intervention in Somalia in the early 90s; he opposed the bombing of Serbia and Kosovo in 1999; he travelled to Vieques to show his solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico in their fight to stop the U.S. military from using it as a practice range; he organized against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; and he organized a Veterans for Peace caravan to bring relief to New Orleans after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and neglect by every level of government.
The thing that kept Dave going throughout the years, I think, was his desire to stop anyone from having to go through what he and millions of Americans and Vietnamese had to go through in the Vietnam war. That's what kept him motivated through the ups and downs of movement activity. That's what gave him the fire and the passion that came through in his hoarse voice whether he was speaking at a large anti-war rally or to a dozen middle and high school kids.
It was this deep, personal level of commitment to the cause that made him so dear to everyone he worked with, spoke to, and had an impact on. It was why he had little patience for the sectarian, ideologically-motivated infighting or ego-tripping that he saw between groups that ostensibly were on the same side of the issues. He felt that fighting over trivial issues, nitpicking, and sneaky maneuvering within the Left strengthened and aided the enemies of working people, soldiers, and people of color. He felt that getting overly-involved in ideological debates meant losing sight of the people whose lives are put in harm's way every day all over the world by the system.
Despite his hostility to what he would call ideology, Dave was a socialist. He wanted a fair, just, and equal world without wars, insurance companies running rampant, and war profiteering. His genius was in being able to make these complex ideas relevant and compelling to any audience he spoke to, whether they were political or not, by humanizing them in terms of his own life experience. Imperialism wasn't some lifeless abstraction about the concentration and centralization of capital reaching its highest point of development. For Dave, imperialism was about people's lives being destroyed in a hail of gunfire, bombs, and napalm, it was about Agent Orange crippling veterans and their children decades later, it was about rich people sending poor people to die for money and power, and it was about veterans not getting anything but the shaft by the government that sent them to kill or be killed for no good reason.
Dave Cline will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. The best way we can honor him is by continuing his fight to get all of our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, making sure they get the care they deserve when they get home, and fighting for a world where there are no more wars for power and profit.
9/18/07 at 10:40— George Weber VVAW Clarence FItch NYC Chapter, VFP 060, USN '66-'69 writes:
There's little I can add to the eloquent words already posted here, except to say that I was always impressed by
the level of energy, enthusiasm, focus, honesty and heart which Dave displayed.
Following Veterans Peace Council meetings on 43rd Street, we'd sometimes walk together to Port Authority Bus Terminal to catch our respective buses home...often talkin' about the early days of VVAW, and music.
We shared a love of music...I love to listen to it, but Dave could really play it.
In October of 2005 we both happened to arrive early for a meeting at Community Church. Dave was listening to his CD Walkman.
He said "Here Brother, listen to this." It was the first time I ever heard Robert Cray's "Twenty."
We had a float with a sound system in the NYC Veterans Day Parade that year, and "Twenty" was one of the songs Dave included in the mix he made for the occasion.
I will never listen to that song again without thinking of Dave. He was a true patriot, and in every sense..a Veteran For Peace
Rest easy my Brother. Your Brother loves and misses you.
words and music by Robert Cray
Â© 2005 Robert Cray Music, Inc (BMI)
When you're used up, where do you go
Mother dry your eyes, there's no need to cry
I'm not a boy, it's what I signed up for
When you're used up, where do you go
I can't take the heat, and I hardly sleep anymore
What'd we come here for
Standing out here in the desert
Trying to protect an oil line
I'd really like to do my job but
This ain't the country that I had in mind
They call this a war on terror
I see a lot of civilians dying
Mothers, sons, fathers and daughters
Not to mention some friends of mine
Some friends of mine
Was supposed to leave last week
Promises they don't keep anymore
Got to fight the rich man's war
When you're used up, where do you go
Late in 2004
Comes a knock at the door
It's no surprise
Mother dry your eyes
9/18/07 at 11:07— Jim Fallon VFP 021 Chapter member writes:
Every day was Veteran's Day in Dave Cline`s life.I first met Dave at a VVAW meeting in NYC in 1971.After many years of separation I moved back to New Jersey and we met again when i joined VFP in Jersey City was shocked to see how his health had declined.His pain and sickness never stopped him from meetings,marches and fight for Peace and justice for all.I`m honored to have known this great man.
9/18/07 at 11:10— Lisandro (Andy) Rivera writes:
I'll never forget the day we met in Vieques, Puerto Rico. You came with this bunch of great people Gene Glazer, Gideon Rosenblum the Vazquez among them. Your solidarity and constant help and advise will not be forgotten. How can I forget the help you gave to Rolando, one of the victims of the more than 40 years of bombing in Vieques. You took him to the best Drs. in NYC. How can we forget all the meetings where you presented the struggle of the Puerto Ricans against the abusive presence of the US Navy in Vieques, your voice serve as a loudspeaker of our struggle. But the longer I knew you the more you impressed me, your antiimperialistics positions and the way you presented them, your defense of the veterans, and your devoted search for peace made you an example for all of us. You are a true soldier for peace ande the USA and the world lost a great man and citizen.
You'll live in the struggle.
Peace Bro. Un abrazo,
Lisandro (Andy) Rivera
9/18/07 at 11:35— Jan Barry Crumb writes:
I can still hear Dave's voice:
calling cadence, Vets for Peace style;
hoarsely shouting into a bullhorn to a rally crowd, VVAW style;
nonstop organizing at a meeting, union style;
and, afterwards, having an intensely personal conversation, old buddy style--
such an optimistic voice, out of a life hammered by war and its aftermath.
Dave was a great inspiration
for me and so many others.
9/18/07 at 13:26— Kenneth Dalton, Life Member VVAW, President of VFP 21,N.J. EN2, U.S.N. 1970-74 writes:
Dave and I first met at the demonstration against the Iraq war at the RNC convention in New York back in 2004. Since then, we marched together many times and also worked on many projects to promote the cause of peace and in particular, the veteran's peace movement.
As president of VFP chapter 21 in New Jersey, I always looked to Dave for guidance and advice. Dave was our chapter's vice president right up to the time of his death.
Dave will be missed by by all members of VFP Chapter 021, the veteran's peace movement and all those who work for peace and justice.
9/18/07 at 15:47— Michael Gillen writes:
I first met Dave Cline 25 years ago, at a demonstration against Nicaraguan policy in Washington, DC. That's when I also met Clarence Fitch and others, and first connected--a Johnny-Come-Lately, with the VVAW. Soon after, I started going into schools with Dave and other VVAW members in Manhattan and Brooklyn, NY and elsewhere doing counter-recruitment. The most memorable conversation with Dave was one year when the two of us drove up to Albany, NY to speak on a veterans panel. During that drive was when I first learned of Dave's combat experience in Viet Nam. On another, sad occasion, after the funeral ceremony for Brother Clarence Fitch, we stood before the open grave and reflected on the life of Clarence and his own contributions to the cause. I know Dave and Clarence, from the same area and active in the same VVAW chapter, were pretty close. For me, Dave has become, like veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who never wavered, never backed down, never stopped fighting for peace and justice in their later years, a model for many of us. Another good one has passed on, but not before making a difference and inspiring others to carry on.
9/18/07 at 18:11— Bruce Hyland writes:
Another dear brother has passed on, way too soon. Dave's great work for peace and justice provides inspiration to us all. Dave had some of the finest gut instincts and uncanny understanding of issues I've seen...a true working class extraordinaire. Brothers like Dave Cline and Bill Davis can not be easily replaced, but we take hope in the fact that another potential Dave or Bill has just been born. I'll miss brother Dave.
9/18/07 at 20:11— Rena Kopystenski writes:
To lose Dave, so soon after Bill Davis, can only mean that the two of them have found and followed a new strategy to ending the fights we have all been striving for; they are taking their case to the higher Power.
The day that I met Dave, I was on a podium trying to explain to a large group of veterans why they were sick, why they were tired and why every wall in their house had gaping holes. He walked up to me and told me that he needed me to join him on another podium a few days later. I agreed and the show was on the road. The man was dynamic, as was his best friend Clarence, even though it was obvious that Clarence was suffering from what I had thought was dioxin poisoning. It didn't matter where in the country I was trying to make veterans aware of Agent Orange, or how tired I may have been, when Dave called that he needed me, I went and visa versa.
John and I went through a most humiliating experience when members of our organization broke the law and tried to push the blame on us, but, Dave, as disgusted as we were, would not let us quit. His attitude was that "not everyone who served in Nam was an upstanding citizen, get over it, you guys have work to do". And so instead of hiding in our own little world, I was on the stage at Rutgers that night.
After a nearly 15 year absence from the struggle, we got a call from Dave, who had tracked us to Nevada, telling John, not asking him, that a reporter would be calling him for an interview, and that was only the beginning.
Dave Cline was and is an inspiration and a friend, like few others and we have to believe that he found a way to beat Bush and the war machine: He and Bill are standing on a podium and making the Lord understand what has to be done.
9/18/07 at 21:37— Matt Meyer writes:
There's this photo in my mind, used in the film Another Brother, from a War Resisters League dinner in the late 1980s, of Dave and Clarence Fitch and Grace Paley and me. As chair of the WRL at that time, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of sharing the emceeing responsibilities with Grace, presenting our annual Peace Award to Dave and Clarence as representatives of VVAW. Now Dave joins the ancesters, along with the other two from that frozen memory, and my sadness is mixed with the fact that they must be giving whomever it is one faces upon death one helleva hard time. Over decades of demonstrating, celebrating, strategizing (about this war and that, about intervention and imperialism, about South Africa and south Jersey and everywhere in between), and speaking out, I can't begin to describe the ways in which Dave inspired and educated me and my generation of resisters. Though the words were not originally his own, he embodied a phrase that I still repeat often, and that seems important to hold on to at difficult times like this: Mourn for the Dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living. We will miss and mourn you, dear Dave, and will redouble our fight in your spirit and memory.
9/18/07 at 21:38— Arlene Wege writes:
Although I should have been more aware of what was going on in the world in the 1960's, I was one of those young people blind to the Vietnam War. It would take many years before I could acknowledge my ignorance, but when I met Dave Cline and became a member of VVAW, he was the one who understood that and just talked to me, and gave me book after book, each one opening my eyes a little wider. Dave Cline was one of the most important influences in my life to go on and make some small contributions in politics and peace to make up for my past ignorance. And I am not surprised but awed by the contributions of the many dear friends to Dave's guestbook.
9/18/07 at 22:34— Pam Sporn writes:
Dear Family and Friends of Dave Cline,
Humanity was lucky to have a fighter like Dave.
I was a young teacher in the mid 1980s developing curriculum on the Vietnam War and Anti-War Movement. Dave, Clarence, and Greg were veterans eager to share their experiences in war and resistance with young people. Those deeply inspiring moments in a classroom up in the Bronx (repeated over several years) left lasting and important impressions on this teacher and her students. Thank you.
9/19/07 at 10:33— Peter W. Brunner (VVAW) writes:
When I think of David Kline:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)
9/19/07 at 15:13— Nat Bender writes:
Dave could address complex issues with simple, straight-forward class analysis. He was hardcore, but I felt great personal warmth seeing him out on the march leading the Vets for Peace, VVAW, etc. We would lock eyes and he would smile. He was a great man.
Dave speaking at Rutgers-Newark about Clarence. He will continue to be an example of strength and courage.
9/19/07 at 20:52— bob gronko writes:
I met Dave Cline at a VVAW meeting a few years ago. I was new and quiet and Dave later encouraged me to speak up and get more involved. Well I've been doing more of both ever since and will always remember that when a little more courage is needed.
Thank you Dave.
For the inspiration.
For the dedication.
For the determination.
For the perspiration.
For the duration.
9/19/07 at 22:55— Art E Sanchez/Vietnam Vet writes:
i never met Dave, but by the testimonials, obviously he was a really great guy and personal friend to many. Inspirational people come by now and then, he must have been one. God bless him and his intimate folks, and all of us.
9/20/07 at 01:04— Anna Bradley writes:
Many memories of Dave Cline, beginning, I think in 1982, when my Vietnamese husband and I were trying to translate our visit to Viet Nam into something meaningful and political.
We were doing these little slideshows around Manhattan, complete with free refreshments...when Mike Pahios came up and introduced himself.
"Hi, I'm Mike Pahios, and I'm a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. What can we do to help?"
Sorry to say, my first reaction was "VVAW? You guys still exist???"
My second reaction was "Yes, yes, yes, you can help us. You can donate and we can talk..."
One thing led to another. We were invited to march in the Memorial Day parade in Montclair, New Jersey, with the VVAW contingent and go to the VVAW picnic afterwards.
That's how I met Dave Cline. At a Memorial Day picnic in a park near Ringwood, New Jersey. There I met Clarence Fitch, Steve Somerstein, June Svetloff, Ben Chitty, Jan Barry, W.D.Ehrhart, all the icons and legends, except that the icon in question...
Dave Cline, was cursing and swearing and saying, to no one in particular...
"Jesus Christ! Does anybody know how hard it is to organize a goddamn picnic with a bunch of guys who have problems with authority?"
Well, whoever Dave was swearing at did show up with the paper plates and the plastic forks.
The picnic came off very well, and Dave engaged my husband in a very direct conversation about Viet Nam...
I remember that I excused myself. I remember that Clarence Fitch had a bunch of relatives on the baseball field, and that someone had hung a huge American flag on a clothesline...
I took myself and my son to the baseball field, but I did look back at my husband, the Vietnamese, and Dave Cline, the Viet Nam veteran, talking over a picnic table, with this American flag...
(Who the hell brought that thing??? Probably the same jerk that gave Dave a hard time about the plastic forks..)
Sort of on the side of them, drifting lazily over them...well, that was the first of a few VVAW picnics I showed for, over the years.
My boy got bigger, so he got to play with Clarence's team, a few years on, at the picnic.
Everyone knew that this would be Clarence Fitch's last picnic, including Clarence. The way he treated my son, and the way Dave Cline, usually remembered as a "hero", a "fighter", watched this thing play out...
I have no words.
9/20/07 at 11:15— barry romo writes:
please forgive misspellings.
Not many people know that Dave was a leader in the union/working class movement, way back when.
He missed a lot of anti war vets stuff cause in the early 70's he was working and leading workers at the post office.
He helped lead (no one ever dose it alone)thousands of P O workers in a wild cat strike at the Bulk Mail Center!
I've known him a long time and will miss him., much peace and love, barry
9/20/07 at 22:03— John Zutz writes:
I met Dave in Vietnam - in 1988. We were part of the second "friendship tour" sponsored by VVAW.
As we landed in Hanoi our plane windows overlooked the bomb craters. My heart was pounding and I wondered what I'd gotten myself into this time.
We were staying at the Foreign Ministry guest house and I was afraid to say anything, worried about listening devices. Dave knew how to overcome. He gathered us in his room and discussed what we were trying to accomplish in Vietnam.
He concluded the meeting by singing "Ho Chi Minh was a deep sea sailor." I think he knew seven verses, and he repeated the refrain over and over, "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh."
9/21/07 at 12:57— Rick Hassett writes:
9/22/07 at 13:55— Marlyn McGary Klee (formerly Dalsimer) writes:
I remember David as a young father in Brooklyn, NY, where he moved about 1972, with his wife Terry Davis, after they had left their work at the Oleo Strut in Killeen, Texas. He phoned me from the hospital shortly after Ellen Lisa was born, full of pride and happiness. We spent a fair amount of time together as young families in Brooklyn, but as he headed off in other directions, I remained friendly mainly with Terry and Ellen Lisa.
I respected David and his work. One of the last times I saw him was at the annual celebration of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in NYC, where he invited me to meet the following week with him and others who were greeting Madame Binh (one of our heroines of the Vietnam conflict). Whatever anti-war demonstration I attended, I was pretty confident I could find David there and renew acquaintance. And of course I was overjoyed to see his strong presence in the movie "Sir, NO Sir!" That film will reach a lot of people who know nothing about the resistance within the military to the Vietnam conflict.
I am very moved by the tributes to David on this site, written by his many friends and admirers. He has left a strong political legacy, which is a great compliment to his life and work.
9/22/07 at 23:34— Gene C. Young, Ph.D. writes:
“Death comes to every individual. There is an amazing democracy about death. It is not aristocracy for some of the people, but a democracy for all of the people. Kings die and beggars die; rich men die and poor men die; old people die and young people die; death comes to the innocent and death comes to the guilty. Death is the irreducible common denominator of all men. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power during these trying days.
At times, life is hard, as hard as crucible steel. It has its bleak and painful moments. Like the ever-flowing waters of a river, life has it moments of drought and its moments of flood. Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of the summers and the piercing chill of its winters. But through it all God walks with us. Never forget that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace. “
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Cline when I spoke at Kent State University in 1990 and when I spoke there on May 4, 2007, I asked my friend, Alan Canfora about him. Alan wrote to inform me of Dave's transition from this earthly sojourn and I pray that his soul is a peace. Dave and I realized that if it were not for the lives of the students at Kent and Jackson State, many more names would be inscribed on the memorial wall in Washington. Dave was totally committed to the work of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and his deep voice commanded the attention of all individuals and groups that heard him. Cindy Sheehan was another speaker at Kent this year and her son, Casey died in Irag on April 4, 2004. Dave was never far from my thoughts and I am inspired to continue the struggle for PEACE. From Jackson, Mississippi I extend my prayers na best wishes for strength to all of his family, friends, and comrades. Gene C. Young, Ph.D. "JUGHEAD"
9/23/07 at 22:47— Trish Schuh writes:
I first met Dave Cline in 1990 when he spoke at a Military Families Support Network event. It was the first time military families had protested against an ongoing war and Dave helped the MFSN group plan, strategize and avoid pitfalls. He was a pivotal part of our group. He was also a great inspiration with his dedication and endless fighting spirit. His fearlessness with the truth and blunt clarity were a great blessing amidst all the propaganda/'patriotism' lies and gov manipulations- of both Iraq War I and II. I am very sorry and sad that he is gone. It feels like the end of an era and his loss will be heavily felt. Dave Cline was in a class of his own.
9/27/07 at 02:08— Gerry Condon writes:
Yeah, what a great guy Dave was. I agree with all of the wonderful things that people are saying. And he was sweet too. Gruff sometimes, but sweet.
He made a lot of friends at the Our Way Home reunion in August 2006 in the Kootenay Mountains of British Columbia. It was primarily a gathering of Vietnam War resisters who now live in Canada (30,000 became Canadian citizens). But friends came from all over. Dave was attending all the forums during the day and singing around the campfire at night. He even came on stage at the concert (before Holly Near) to sing a song. He made friends with members of the Doukabour community, the Russian pacifists who settled in the Kootenays and who welcomed the arrival of Vietnam War resisters.
It was there at the Our Way Home reunion that Dave befriended Kyle Snyder, who remains AWOL from the Iraq War. Kyle was very happy to see Dave again last November at the School of Americas protest at Fort Benning. I've got a great picture of them together there. Kyle is back in Canada.
I was really glad to see Dave too. He had called me out of the blue several months earlier to suggest I get in touch with particular veterans who wanted to support Iraq War resisters.
Like I said, he was sweet guy. His only preoccupation when he was in Canada was whether his pet turtle was being well taken care back home in New Jersey. "You have a pet turtle?" I said, surprised for some reason. "Well," he said, "you know how it is. The kids had these turtles and then they end up with me."
Dave really liked people. And they liked him back. That was a large part of his leadership. From what I am reading here, it seems that Dave, the friend and leader, will be with us for some time to come. We all can be thankful for that. Dave Cline! Presente!
9/27/07 at 12:44— tom smith writes:
I had met Dave during the Jan. march on Washington this year and his words were very encouraging. I will sorely miss him. His legacy lives on.
Hoa Binh Dave
10/7/07 at 11:57— Marc Levy writes:
Please add my condolences to the many who've said farewell to Dave Cline. First met Dave at the Vet Center in Newark, NJ in the 'mid 90s. Spent a day with him at the NJ VN Vet Memorial in Homdel, went to a few VVAW meetings in NYC where he presided with Ben Chitty. Over the years traded emails, etc. Dave is in Inconvenient Story's: Vietnam Veterans. (http://www.jeffreywolin.com/stories.shtml# )
10/24/07 at 20:55— Rick Chalek writes:
I'm not a `god' man, so I have no illusions about whether Dave is looking down from any particular vantage point. I'll just say thank you, Dave, for doing the work I so selfishly neglected to do in the name of peace, all these years since Dewey Canyon III--my last active participation with VVAW.
I was saddened to read the news of your passing, but I wasn't surprised, since this world seldom rewards genuine goodness. I'll just say thanks for your years of commitment, and admit that I often wish I'd found the strength within to have been of similar service, and more consistent. Like you, all these years since our war in Asia, I've known the truths about the direction our country has taken--away, rather than toward--world peace. Yet, I've done precious little to advance the cause. But you, friend, can be counted among the world's authentic rich. For, you have achieved what so many of us never will: you have spent your life in such fashion that the world is measurably better for having held you in its grasp.
So, thanks again, Dave, for maintaining your selfless, patriotic vigil in the trenches, your indefatigable, optimistic trudge toward the notion of a world that may one day truly learn to view war with the same jaundiced eye as you have. Xin cam on ong, lam lam. Toi rat doi on. Thoi Chao.
10/30/07 at 19:12— Gary Kincaid writes:
Dave was a kind and gentle soul and I know we won't find another like him.
11/5/07 at 11:33— john ahlin of Machias, Maine writes:
The poem of A E Houseman "To an athlete Dying Young" seems appropriate for Dave and all of your valiant veterans of Viet Nam
11/5/07 at 11:36— john ahlin , machias maine writes:
Dear Art, Thankyou for sharing those special memories of Dave's meaningful life. Hope that your association with him during your horrific strife you managed to live through in Viet Nam gives you daily courage now to survive with love and strengthto continue the struggle on the side of goodness and order in these difficult times. Your life influence s us all in special ways. With appreciation to the Burtons, both Heather and Art, whose lives are making a difference. AE Houseman's poem ,"To an Athlete Dying Young" seems appropriate to all of you veterans of Nam.
11/12/07 at 08:47— Jeff Wolin writes:
From Jeff Wolin's book Inconvenient Story's: Vietnam Veterans
U. S. Army Specialist E-3
August 1967-January 1968
Archival Digital Print, 30"x40"
"I remember before we went to Bo Tuc they had us set up for about a week in an area near the Cambodia border. We set up a battalion-size perimeter and we put out barbed wire and rigged up the whole perimeter with Claymore mines. They never attacked us there because they saw us setting all this up. They waited until the next night when we went to Bo Tuc and that night at two in the morning we got overrun by North Vietnamese.
All of a sudden mortar rounds started coming in. I was in a foxhole with two other guys, black guys, one named Jameson and the other named Walker. We'd sleep three in a hole. We were supposed to be a reserve support position, not a line position, and being in a reserve position we were able to all three of us sleep. So the mortar attack woke us up and all of a sudden we could hear someone about 30 meters in front of us yelling orders in Vietnamese. They were attacking the position next to us. They overran that position and one of them started running toward our hole. It was two in the morning so you couldn't tell if he was an American or Vietnamese.
I was sitting cross-legged with my rifle pointed up at the entrance to the hole. We always put a sand bag cover on our foxholes so if we got mortared we'd have some protection from the shrapnel. All of a sudden this guy came up behind my hole and he stuck in his rifle. I saw the front side of an AK-47 and then a muzzle flash and I pulled my trigger. The bullet hit me in the knee and I blacked out from the impact. When I came to a few minutes later my weapon was jammed and my knee was shattered. Walker-who we used to call 'Thump' because he had the M-79 grenade launcher and that's the sound it made-started shooting and Jameson pulled me out of the hole and lifted me on his back. We pulled back to the platoon CP which was a hole even further back and they stuck me in the foxhole with a bottle of Darvans and I lay there eating them Darvans all night to kill the pain.
That night the NVA overran a lot of our positions. We had flown in artillery and they overran the artillery, set the artillery rounds on fire. So they were blowing up and they'd cook off-a dull thud-type of explosion. It was the only night in Vietnam I thought I was dead for sure because the Vietnamese were all over the place charging and at night you couldn't tell who was who. The fight went on all night. They were not able to kill us all and take over our positions so they withdrew before the sun came up. We took a lot of casualties. I'm sure they took a lot of casualties too.
In the morning they took me out of the foxhole and put me on a stretcher to medevac me out. They carried me over to my position and the guy who had shot me was dead. He was sitting up against a tree stump and he had his AK-47 across his lap and a couple of bullet holes up his chest. The sergeant started patting me on the shoulder. 'Here's this gook you killed. You did a good job.'
They used to have a big thing; first off it was a racial thing: they weren't people; they were 'gooks'. How you get people to kill people, you dehumanize them-make them less than human. They also used to have a big thing in my unit about Individual Confirmed Kills. You know, a lot of times we'd get into a firefight and everyone would start shooting and then you'd find some bodies later and you weren't sure who individually shot them-you all did. But if you had an Individual Confirmed Kill and the person you killed was carrying an automatic weapon-not a semi-automatic-you would get a three-day in-country pass.
Sounds bizarre when you think about it. Sounds like hunting, But when we were fighting the Vietnamese, they were putting a high priority on capturing AK's. So this sergeant is telling me, 'Here's the gook you killed.' I looked at this guy; he was about my age and I started thinking, 'Why is he dead and I'm alive?' It was pure luck that I had my rifle aimed at his chest while his was aimed at my knee-not anything to do with being a better soldier or fighting for a better cause.
Then I started thinking, 'I wonder if he had a girlfriend? How will his mother find out her son is dead?' What I didn't realize at the time, but did later, was that I was refusing to give up on his humanity. And that's what a lot of war is about: denying your enemy's humanity. That's where a lot of guys came back and still had a lot of hatred and anger. That was the point at which I felt I had to do more than go back home and try to pretend I wasn't in the war zone. The senselessness of the whole thing was right in front of me. And if you asked me about what I thought about at that moment I would have said, 'Old men send young men to wars, so why doesn't Lyndon Johnson and Ho Chi Minh fight it out and let us all go home.'"
11/14/07 at 13:35— Bruce Bernstein writes:
I just found out about the sad and all-too-early deaths of Dave Cline and Bill Davis.
I knew both of them in the 70s, when I was a young student and community activist and they were with the VVAW and, in Dave's case, active in the labor movement. (I see from the bio that Bill was a Local President with the Machinists at the time of his death, which doesn't surprise me -- what a leader!).
I extend my condolences to their families, extended families, comrades, and loved ones.
I knew Dave much better than I knew Bill, so my comments here will be limited to Dave.
Dave was an outstanding speaker. He obviously "spoke from the heart." He spoke with humor and never pulled any punches.
He carried with him a wealth of experience -- in the GI movement, the peace movement, the vets movement, the labor movement. As a young activist, I always learned from his teachings and his experience. Later on in life, when I was no longer active in mass movements but continued (and continue) to try to make a contribution to forging a more humane and peaceful society, I would see Dave from time to time, at demonstrations or occasionally just walking down the street in Manhattan. Despite his health problems, he was always cheery, good-natured, and fun to see and talk to. he always remembered me, which I appreciated. Under different conditions, he would have been considered a great "politician." But he was too "real" -- authentic -- to be a politician in the modern American sense of the word.
Rest in peace, Dave and Bill. You both earned it, many times over. Others are now left to carry on.
12/1/07 at 16:56— M.Jesse Torres Jr. writes:
I'd heard about Dave for quite some-time before I met him in Chicago at the National meeting several years ago. He kept staring at me because I had-on a VVA-Manhatten Chapter sweatshirt. After a while he asked where I got it.I told him it was from a fellow Vietnam vet in NY.He then told about his work with various groups in NY.I told him my tribe(Oneida Nation of WI.)was originally from the Syracuse area.He communicated several times by mail to plan on attending Native American Veterans Honor Pow Wows in NY.We never were able to meet because of busy schedules. It was an honor knowing Dave; his name will be called-out at the many honor pow wows for veterans that I attend each year.His spirit lives-on! Peace, brother.
12/11/07 at 08:07— Mike Ludwig writes:
i had been asked to represent the local chapter 39 of veterans for peace at the 'united states labor against the war' convention in cleveland in december, 2006. i was told to be prepared to assist david cline, national president of v.f.p. who was to moderate one of the breakout sessions, entitled "taking care of them when they get home". this quiet rock of a man allowed me several comments during the session and he and i came away with a fondness for each other. for me it was more than a fondness: it was deep and abiding respect for this man who not only talked the talk but walked the walk for peace and justice. he lived it. the following january i saw him at the gathering at the mall for the march in washington, d.c. i went up to him with my hand extended. he moved right around it and brought me close in a hug that i'll never forget. it's as if we had known each other for years! that's how i'll always remember dave cline: a brother, and he'd never forget you or leave you hanging. i'm feeding off his inspiration even today. presente, brother!
12/26/07 at 08:04— Jerry Steele writes:
I met Dave In Seattle in August of 06. It was my first VFP event, first event ever for me since I left Nam in '72. I had no idea who he was - what he was, but I found myself visiting with him. I tried to explain - apologize - for my 30 year absence as I had always felt/knew/taught that war was morally wrong, but I had never been active in the actual movement. Dave simply looked at me, bore my naivte', and said this: "The good book says that it doesn't make any difference when you come to the table - just as long as you come. Welcome to the table."
This simple utterance from this magnificent human being literally changed my life. I am not saying it has been easier, but it has definitely been better.
Thank you Dave, for your courage, your strength, your passion, your intelligence. And for me personally, thank you for caring enough to visit with and guide a total stranger. You will always be one of my heroes.
1/15/08 at 19:26— jim downey writes:
I am sorry to hear of dave's passing.
I met Dave at Clarences Fitch's funeral in the early 1990s, but I was not involved in any anti-war activities at that time. I had never heard of VVAW before.
I met Dave again in 2002 during the pre-Iraq War protests and he sent me a video tape of the documentary about Clarence's life. After that, I attended every protest I could, mostly going to NYC and DC. Iran into dave all the time.
I will miss seeing him and hearin him do "cadence". I will try to keep up the fight best I can. Rest in Peace, deara friend.
2/6/08 at 21:44— joe madero writes:
dave, you were a joy to work with and be a part of the "outlaw" back in the bulk facility. will make a movie about you someday.ciao from D R O
2/22/08 at 10:43— Janet Curry writes:
When my daughter Zoe was around 4, we were all camping out at Barry's for a national VVAW meeting, and Dave, in what might have seemed like a far out of character episode, talked to her for a long rambling time about the danger of playing in abandoned refridgerators. He was funny and practical, but mostly equal to equal in his tone with her, sharing a wisdom and that uniquely VVAW humanity that comes from having faced and dealt in so much horror, but having emerged from the mortal nightmares each day with whip smart humor, heart, and unfathomable energy. Zoe is 14 now, and learned more from Dave Cline that morning than in all her years of social studies. So did all of us. Dave, if they haven't made you a Dean of something wherever you are, they're not paying attention. Wake em up.
5/19/08 at 10:50— Richard L. Conley writes:
fairwell brother,rick conley,us army, 1964-1970,VFP
5/24/08 at 21:57— Judy Posusney (Pansini/Grew) writes:
Don't ask me why, but recently I started looking up (google-ing) people I used to know >30 years ago. I entered Dave Cline and found out that someone named dave cline had died in September. It couldn't be the same person...so I followed some threads, and there he was - the same guy who danced at my wedding (the first one). I used to sing at the union rallies at the Bulk Post office, on picket lines, etc. And marched with anti-war groups, including VVAW. So, I knew Dave in the early seventies, and then lost touch when I moved from North Jersey.
I am very moved to learn what he did, and continued to do with VVAW. I am not surprised at all. He always had what I call "fire in the belly" to fight for what is right.
You fought the good fight, Dave, and your work was not in vain.
5/28/08 at 10:28— PETE CULLEN writes:
DAVE CLINE R.I.P.,WAS A UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL WHO ADVOCATED FOR VETERANS CAUSES THE VETERANS COMMUNITY OF THIS AREA IS POORER WITH HIS LOSS!I DONT THINK HE CAN BE TRULY REPLACED!SINCERELY,PETE CULLEN A/2/12 INF. 4TH I.D. VIETNAM 1967
2/3/10 at 00:30— SuziQ Hamelton writes:
Dave was a true trooper, he would never let those around him waste his time or theirs.... There is a way to right these wrongs and he was going to find the way! Dear Dave, we know you have all of the angels on your side....what a way!!Now we just wait...I was the Lead SINGER in the band Saurus in 1980 Veterans Park 3 day concert (Hospital, before earthquake) Isalute ALL the Vets! Without you were would the U.S. be right now?? Thank you all sooo very much I LOVE YOU! SiouzQ
6/7/10 at 14:49— Thomas Brinson writes:
A Tommy-come-lately, but never too late to remember with gratitude the life of service for peace with justice that Dave exemplary character epitomizes for us all . . .
Here is an accounting of the impromptu Memorial Service a number of us had for him at The Wall after we had been released from DC jail the day after we heard the sad news that he had passed:
Memoriam At The Wall Đ September 16, 2007
The circle of us war veterans and supporters
Stood solemn in tattered grief on the muddy, dewy lawn
Opposite the poignant point of that long and deep, black, stone V
Marking all the lost veterans from one other distant, unnecessary war
Most of us had just been released from fourteen-and-a-half hours
Of bureaucratic harassment by storm trooper US Capitol Police
For exercising the rights many of us once rather ideally had thought
We were fighting to preserve in far-off foreign places such as the
Rock Pile, Anbar Province, Central Highlands, Tora Boro, Iron Triangle
Where Dave, dead just barely 24 hours, had brutally fought
And been mortally wounded forty years ago
We were each sharing our tearful remembrances of Dave,
Valiant Veteran Activist, each of us touched in our own way
By memories of his tireless service to all victims of war anywhere
When a portly US Park Ranger told us we were unauthorized to do so
Because we were conducting an illegal political rally
Since one of us was carrying a Veterans For Peace flag
We respected her instructions to move away from the Wall
To complete our impromptu memorial service for Dave
As we ended our spontaneous ceremony in a somber file,
Each of us pausing to touch a name on the Wall
As Dave often sung about in his raspy, tear-seasoned voice
High-booted motorcycle cops confronted us and sternly ordered
We fold up the Veterans For Peace flag or again be arrested
Disgusted by the just-following-orders cops, I broke away from the group
Looked up at the three-warrior statue of us in our long-ago lost youth
Followed their heart-stricken gaze of bewildered grief at all our names
Saluted Dave, the latest addition to that black corridor of needless death
Thanked him, for clearing away stormy skies with his strong spirit
As finally he escaped the emaciated husk of his skin-and-bones body
So we, his brothers and sisters, could march in the bright sunlight
Of a new day in the never-ending struggle for peace with justice
September 16, 2007
Long Beach, New York