Unwrapping Kerry’s story of Christmas in Cambodia

by on August 18th, 2004


On March 27, 1986, John Kerry took the floor of the U.S. Senate and delivered a dramatic oration indicting the foreign policy of the Reagan administration. As is his habit, Kerry drew on his Vietnam experience in explaining his opposition to the policy.

“I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and having the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there.”

To emphasize the importance of this incident to his subsequent political development, Kerry asserted: “I have that memory which is seared –seared — in me, that says to me, before we send another generation into harm’s way we have a responsibility in the U.S. Senate to go the last step, to make the best effort possible to avoid that kind of conflict.”

Stephen Macklin