Mel Gibson has set the record straight about his family's emigration from America when he was still a child. Popular legend has it that Gibson's family moved from his hometown of Peeskill, New York, in the mid 1960s because his father Hutton wanted to ensure his sons avoiding being drafted for the Vietnam war. But Gibson, who stars in upcoming Vietnam movie We Were Soldiers, says the story has been twisted over the years. He says, "That's not totally true. My Dad is a sane man who fought for this country during World War II. Maybe because of that fact, my father was never a fan of war. However, our family moving to Australia when I was a boy wasn't to avoid Vietnam. The truth was my father had hurt himself and we had friends and family in Australia who could make it easier for us to live while he recovered." And Gibson insists that living in Australia did not mean he could escape the draft when he got older. He adds, "You could still be drafted in Australia. In fact, I remember the day my brother got called up, but he flunked the preliminary tests and didn't have to go. That was a relief in a way. But there was still a lot to fear. In Australia, you could still be drafted by America or be drafted by the Australian forces because we were allies. I would hate to send my children off and I don't care if it's a just war or not. I'm not a big fan of conflict especially when there is usually a lot more going on behind the scenes than we think." We Were Soldiers, based on the acclaimed book We Were Soldiers Once, And Young by Hal Moore is released in America in March.
Mel Gibson's Vietnam Issues
- 14 February 2002