updated 2/12/2004 1:35:11 PM ET 2004-02-12T18:35:11

John Kerry's campaign is turning into a coronation.  But will the Vietnam vet's past words come back to haunt him? 

While war hero Kerry completed his war tour in 1969, civilian Kerry soon after took command of the controversial anti-war movement.  The co-founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War Spoke before Congress in 1971. 

But anti-war activist Kerry accused his fellow soldiers of grisly war crimes, though he never named names.  He even led a group of veterans to Capitol Hill to throw away their medals, though John Kerry threw someone else’s medals away, while his medals stayed at home. 

War veterans were also outraged today, as pictures surfaced of John Kerry and Jane Fonda at a 1971 political rally.  Vets also complained that John Kerry even marched in the presence of the Viet Cong flag during those peace demonstrations. 

And last week, John Kerry angered veterans groups by seeming to suggest that serving in the National Guard was the equivalent of dodging the draft by fleeing to Canada. 

Through his anti-war activism, Kerry's fame grew.   He went on to law school after an unsuccessful congressional run and was elected lieutenant governor under Michael Dukakis. Now, 22 years later, war hero and peace activist John Kerry is on the way to the Democratic nomination for president, making George W. Bush's wartime service a political issue, even though, in 1992, he said of then Democratic nominee Bill Clinton: “I am saddened by the fact that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign and that it has been inserted in what I feel to be the worst possible way.  We do not need to divide America over who served and how.  I have personally always believed that many served in many different ways.”

This all proves again that in politics, the past is always prologue. John Kerry will make Vietnam a central issue in his campaign for president, showing that when it comes to the turbulent ‘60s, some old wounds never heal. 


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