When Ron returns home from the hospital the subtitle says " Massapequa, 1969". The colours of the leaves and the dead leaves in the street indicate it is autumn. A few scenes later the subtitle reads "July 4, 1969", and the implication is that time has moved forward.
In the movie, Ron is, by 1972, a full-fledged anti-war activist. Ron materializes on the floor of the Republican National Convention with a few other Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They make a scene, attract a few cameras, block the aisle, and rile the delegates, a mass of bloated Republican faces in straw boaters. One of them spits on Ron. Security guards move in, roughly pushing and pulling the veterans from the hall, physically preventing reporters from following. Outside, Ron is thrown from his wheelchair by an undercover cop and beaten. Actually, Robert Dornan persuaded security guards to let Kovic into the convention. Mr. Dornan says he made Mr. Kovic promise not to make a scene. That, however, did not stop the Vietnam veteran, who joined forces with two other disabled anti- war veterans. "It was not as big a disturbance as the movie showed, but it was a disturbance," says Mr. Dornan. "They were screaming. The guards came down and politely pulled their chairs backward. [They] put them out peaceably." A United Press International report of the incident describes the scene this way: "After about five minutes, security agents wheeled them in protesting out a side door. I went out and watched him and the other two congratulating one another, bragging about what they'd accomplished."
In the movie, Ron is visiting a leader of the 1970 Syracuse University strike. As students listen to speakers (among them the late Abbie Hoffman) an army of Syracuse policemen, identifiable by their shoulder patches, mass on campus. Wearing full riot gear, they rap their shields with their nightsticks, and, unprovoked, attack the student assembly. One even cracks wheelchair-bound Ron over the head.
New York State Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann, a Democrat, was a Syracuse student in 1970 who participated in that strike. "It was totally unlike the characterization in the movie," she says, describing the peaceful week-long strike. "There was no police presence even within sight. At no time was there any show of force, or any attempt to disperse students listening to speakers. It troubles me to see police officers maligned for Hollywood sensationalism."
The movie major is a decidedly unsympathetic character who ends his discussion with young Kovic by threatening to "take his head" if any more is said about the matter. The real-life major, traced by U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Fred Peck, would not consent to an interview. Through Lt. Col. Peck, the major confirmed Ron Kovic voiced such concerns to him. The major investigated and concluded it was unlikely Mr. Kovic had killed the Marine. Subsequently, the major promoted Mr. Kovic, making him the leader of a new scout group.
In the scene depicting the Republican National Convention and Ron Kovic's attempt to access the convention hall, Kovic is shown wearing medals on his right breast. One of the Medals he is wearing is an Army Commendation Medal, since Kovic was a Marine he would not have been awarded an Army Medal.