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Page 41
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New Book Will Recount Operation POW

By Elise Lemire

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I am looking for members and supporters of VVAW who participated in Operation POW on Memorial Day weekend in 1971.

Organized by VVAW's New England office, Operation POW reversed the route Paul Revere took on his 1775 midnight ride. The veterans and their supporters marched from Concord to Lexington to Bunker Hill, performing guerrilla theater along the way. POW culminated with a rally on Boston Common.

Operation POW is also the occasion of the largest mass arrest in the Commonwealth's history. Citing a local ordinance forbidding people on the Battle Green after 10 PM, the Lexington selectmen obtained an injunction and had over 400 veterans and civilian supporters arrested for attempting to bivouac. The press took notice. For three straight days, Operation POW was front-page news in New England.

Battle Green, Vietnam: The 1971 March on Concord and Lexington will recount the events of that Memorial Day weekend.

I am not a veteran but I was a young child living in the Lexington-Concord area when Operation POW took place. Several family friends were arrested that weekend in solidarity with the veterans.

I can be contacted at Elise.Lemire@Purchase.Edu. For information about my previous work, you can go to www.BlackWalden.com.

Elise Lemire is Doris and Carl Kempner Distinguished Professor of Literature at Purchase College, SUNY. She is the author of "Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts" (2009) and "Miscegenation: Making Race in America" (2002), both published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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