Calley Apologizes for My Lai Massacre

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2009 6:20 AM CDT
In this April 23, 1971 photo, Lt. William L. Calley, Jr., is seen during his court-martial at Ft. Benning, Ga..    (AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.)
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(Newser) – Forty years after the infamous My Lai massacre came to light, the former Army officer who led the raid has for the first time spoken publicly about his actions. William Calley, who ordered his soldiers to gun down hundreds of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai in 1968, said Wednesday that he feels remorse every day for what happened there, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports.

His voice breaking, Calley told a Columbus, Ohio, Kiwanis Club audience, "I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry." The Army initially denied, then downplayed My Lai until a journalist exposed the massacre in 1969. Calley, who claimed to be following orders to leave no one alive in the village, was court-martialed and convicted of 22 counts of murder. His life sentence was later reduced, and he settled in Columbus, where he worked in his father-in-law's jewelry store, until a recent move to Atlanta.
(Read more Vietnam War stories.)