Asia Travel

Bloody War

Chapter Five – Vietnam

Location: Vietnam

What I’ve seen of Vietnam so far is beautiful and hospitable.

But the past is real and haunting. And bloody.

I was only a child. What I remember is every night on the news. Huntley and Brinkley telling the story. Cronkite introducing Rather in the field.  Black and white images of soldiers, helicopters and dead people.

This familiar photo is tame compared to most of the images in the museum.

Not dead soldiers as much as dead Vietnamese children, women and elderly. The casualties were unbelievable.

One of the most famous photos of the fall of Saigon. Americans evacuating from the top of the CIA building.

These are my childhood memories of growing up in the 60’s and 70’s as the war played out on our black and white TV each night.

The same building today. It’s just a block from where we are staying. It is unmarked and has no reference to that day and what happened.

I didn’t understand it then. I still don’t understand it now. For what?  More than 50,000 American soldiers dead. We learn this in school. But what about 3 million Vietnamese dead?  And most importantly 2 million of those innocent civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some tortured.  Some shot point blank.

A prisoner cell at the War Remnants Museum.

When you visit Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, you must visit the War Remnants Museum(formerly called the American War Museum and the War Autrocities Museum). Although I had to walk out of part of the museum

PRG forces seize control of the presidential palace in Saigon, after the fall of the city, May 3, 1975
The war in Vietnam ended 30 April 1975 as the government in Saigon announced its unconditional surrender to the Vietcong.
AFP/Getty Images

because it was so horrifying. What war does. What we do when we are at war. What we do to each other to impose your beliefs.

Us enjoying the beautiful grounds today of the Presidential Palace, now called Independance Palace.

All of these lives. Gone.

I didn’t understand it then. I still don’t understand it now. For what?

Not fabulous.

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