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Living in fear: draft dodgers in hiding

No one expected the Vietnam War to play out as it did. With thousands of young men fighting to the death overseas, another group of American sons fled their homeland and journeyed north to Canada. As the battle raged on and the antiwar movement divided the United States, draft dodgers and deserters struggled to forge new lives for themselves. Seeking sanctuary and the opportunity to make a difference, they changed their adopted country unquestionably. (Note: Some clips contain explicit language.)

Try not to attend public events. Keep a low profile. Fear the unexpected knock at the door. This is how one American draft dodger describes his difficult existence of paranoia. With his new bride, he discusses his decision to move to Canada and the things he left behind. My wife had to give up her parents, her friends, her very geography, he says quietly. For many young Americans, blending into Canadian society is proving to be a concerted effort.
• In the late 1960s there were approximately 31 Canadian organizations aiding draft dodgers. The groups slowly disbanded as many Americans assimilated easily into Canadian society.
Medium: Television
Program: The Public Eye
Broadcast Date: May 7, 1969
Guest(s): William Spira
Duration: 5:54

Last updated: April 5, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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