There you are. No reporters were invited, but a retired local newsman surreptitiously blogged about it online and the local paper picked up the story. Now 74 years old, he declined to be interviewed for this story.

In any case, one mother tucked a child, a two— or three-year-old boy, under her stomach, and somehow he survived all the bullets. Yet Cong and the other survivors are painfully aware that all the soldiers involved in the massacre went free. Some of Calley’s supporters went to great lengths.

One crucial element of Medina's orders is not in doubt, however. Calley also pointed out that when the Army photographer who brought about the investigation into the incident – he sent information and pictures to New York Senator Jacob Javits – the Army denied that it happened. The historian Howard Jones, author of My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness, read Calley’s words in news reports but didn’t believe they showed true contrition. COLUMBUS, Ga. -- His employees at a jewelry store call him 'Rusty,' but those who remember the Vietnam War know him as William Laws Calley Jr., the Army lieutenant convicted in … When the bloodbath was over, the hamlet was torched. The soldiers killed as many as 200 people in those two areas of Son My, including 79 children.

(Ronald S. Haeberle / The Life Images Collection / Getty Images; Composite image by photographer Binh-Dang).

I lost all sense of direction.” Simpson went on to commit suicide. At the museum’s entrance is a large black marble plaque that bears the names and ages of every person killed in Son My on March 16, 1968.

Instead of dismissing Calley as a cold-blooded killer, the majority of ordinary Americans accepted his claim - that he was simply a patriotic soldier, faithfully acting out his duty - and viewed him as a heroic martyr. “I can actually see the faces and the terror and all those people’s eyes. I don’t know why, but it’s true, there always is. Last week, William Calley publicly apologized for the first time, while speaking at the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus in Georgia.

Even in the peace movement some were willing to believe he was merely a lowly scapegoat for the real architects of the war: a theory Oliver Stone will doubtless explore.

Eighteen months later, in March 1971, a court-martial with a jury of six fellow officers, including five who had served in Vietnam, found Calley guilty of murdering at least 22 civilians and sentenced him to life in prison. The divorce documents provided little information about Penny Vick’s side of the story apart from two ambiguous details.

According to records in the grim museum which the victorious Vietnamese communists have built at My Lai, however, 504 people were murdered. “I think he believed that he was doing his duty and doing his job when he was over there,” he told me. Rookie officers underwent a course designed to improve their respect and understanding of the distant strangers in whose land they would be fighting, entitled "Vietnam Our Host". American heroes are celebrated, like Ronald Ridenhour, the ex-G.I. At a hotel in Terre Haute, Indiana, Wilson spoke to Meadlo, the soldier who with Calley had gunned down the rows of villagers. Original article seen above is from Dick’s World. The only one to be convicted was released after a brief and comfortable captivity. According to one neighbour - a former policewoman who remarked that Calley "doesn't look big enough to snap a twig in half" - during his middle years he also developed a drink problem. The nightmares and everything will never go away. (He did not respond to interview requests for this story.) Almost, during the day, every senior officer, including the major general in charge of the Americal Division — this group was assigned to the Americal Division — all were flying over the area at one time, and pretty much everybody knew pretty much what was going on. On the eve of the massacre, another comrade had been blown up by a VC booby-trap, and so it was amid a mood of pent-up frustration and vengeance that Charlie Company was briefed by Captain Ernest Medina about the following morning's planned sweep through 'Pinkville'. Aware of the damage that news of an American atrocity would cause, Richard Nixon, who had succeeded Johnson as president, tried desperately to downplay it. “When I noticed that it was quiet, I pushed the dead bodies above me aside,” she told me. And I’ll tell you, Amy, just — there was one of the kids who did a lot of shooting, was a young man named Paul Meadlo from a little small hamlet called New Goshen, Indiana. [includes rush transcript]. God will punish you, Calley!”, Meadlo is still angry at the U.S. government for sending him to Vietnam in the first place, but he says he no longer holds a grudge against Calley. Sadly, however, William Calley - who has never demonstrated the slightest desire to make his peace with the Vietnamese people - was not even willing to discuss it this week. “I felt like crying, really, because he had nothing to apologize for,” said Hodges. The intelligence was bad, as it always is. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Soldiers gathered together villagers along a trail going through the village and also along an irrigation ditch to the east. Why you should always close the lid: Horrifying images show how germ-infested water droplets are thrown into... or debate this issue live on our message boards. He was convicted on twenty-two counts of murder, and his sentence was later commuted by President Reagan. Visiting My Lai last week, we spoke to people who remember the day William Calley came to their village, and regard him rather differently.

“We just started wiping out the whole village,” he told Wilson.

It is well known that the officer accused of issuing those orders, Captain Ernest Medina, was also tried and found not guilty. Only Nam made it out physically unscathed. The youngest was just one year old and the oldest 82, and their names are etched on a broad marble wall.

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