Nearly 50 U.S. military veterans returned their service medals on Sunday during a protest against the NATO conference in Chicago (video below).
Each of them threw their medals over a security fence in a symbolic protest meant to evoke images of the Vietnam war era.
The soldiers’ demonstration came at the tail end of protests over the weekend, as tens of thousands marched against the continued war in Afghanistan, inaction on climate change, income inequality and other causes.
Among the veterans returning their medals was Scott Olsen, a former U.S. Marine who was shot in the face with a tear gas canister last October by police in Oakland. Olsen told ABC News: “These medals, once upon a time, made me feel good about what I was doing. They made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Then I came back to reality, and I don’t want these anymore.”
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Sgt. Jacob George, who has served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, told ABC News that he was “willing to give them back even though it’s a very emotional thing for me.”