My Lai massacre
[ (mee leye) ]
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A mass killing of helpless inhabitants of a village in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, carried out in 1968 by United States troops under the command of Lieutenant William Calley. Calley was court-martialed and sentenced to life imprisonment, but he only served a few years before parole. The massacre, horrible in itself, became a symbol (see also symbol) for those opposed to the war in Vietnam.
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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.