3rd US Marines, Martial Law on Dist. of Columbia and Rioting 1968

Wyatt Reader M.A. Contribution

Originally posted on Hwar, a little over a year ago, June, 2020, was this material and picture from the History of Vietnam War, in its midst, the assassination and murder of Martin Luther King, whose leadership in the Civil Rights movement of that era, was ended  during an appearance in Tennessee.

With some afterthought, revisions to this posted matterial seems in order and its metioning again, with this picture included, highlights how during the past half century since 1968, American progress towards understanding the causes and consequence resulting from its history of war overseas, continues affecting both domestic events and shapes American lives.

When the Civil Rights leader was cut down by an assailant, among the nationwide rioting touched off by this domestic event, growing from protests over both Civil Rights and the anti-war movement within the US, Pres. Johnson found it necessary to place the Nation's Capitol under martial law. In so doing, He brought the 3rd US Marines  and 82nd Airborne into the District of Columbia to restore order from rioting there and its effects upon the Federal Govt.

This picture, one of several, shows one detched unit of those 3rd Marines assigned to Capitol Hill, 6 blocks from the Congress, posted in a small local park between 5th and 6th Sts. While this picture was taken during daylight hrs., every evening from 6 pm to 6 am the Capitol, DC, was placed under curfew, while military units present, patroled the City with slung rifles and sheathed, fixed bayonets. No civilians were allowed to move about during these curfew hours within DC. At all roads into and out of the City, military checkpoints were set up and all traffic entering the City was stopped and questioned before allowing entrance inside the District.

These conditions existed for several weeks, as remembered. Eventually, with order restored, the Martial Law order and US military exercising its authority were withdrawn from the Capitol and life returned to normal, for those war years.

This was the American experience brought about by convergence of domestic and overseas war history at end of the 1960s, affecting both the nation and the National Capitol. From 1968 to 2018, now 2021, 53 years have replaced this History, while its legacy remains to reminding of consequences resulting from both participation in wars and their impact upon domestic lives. 

One point, from memory, do not recall at the time any particular groups or individuals being banned from the Capitol, DC area, though such could have easiily been put into place had it been deemed necessary.