As I’ve traveled throughout Vietnam for nearly a month, the same set of thoughts keep coming to my head – “Why is there so much USA love here?”
(Sorry – I’m about to ramble)
Sure, the “war” ended years ago – not that the USA was ever at war with Vietnam. War, according to the rules that govern such things in the USA (an ironic statement if there ever was one), must be voted upon and declared by congress. Regardless of the technicalities, while the US may not have been at war, Vietnam most certainly was. The casualties were high, the impact was massive, and even today – the conflict has a daily influence on the lives of the Vietnamese.
As I mentioned earlier, as I go through Vietnam I find myself wondering why there is so much USA love. There are people with USA jackets and t-shirts, bike helmets, face masks, ect. In the end I assume it’s the same generational shift that we see everywhere with large social issues – an idea that “the past is in the past” and that people move on. But I can’t help wonder about the older generations here, and what they think when their grandchildren are sporting various USA trinkets. Traveling about the country, that same older generation are the ones who I feel the most awkward around as our eyes meet crossing in the streets. Its a strange piercing feeling that really cannot be explained.
Today I visited the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. It is, by all accounts, a one-sided representation of the Vietnam War. And while I may piss off a few people saying this – I think it’s the right representation. There are exhibits and pictures throughout the museum that I won’t bother to try to explain – as no explanation is needed. I’ve posted some of the pictures I took below, and left a few comments as well. There are others in the gallery of the photos page. The three pictures below, all graphic, tell a very similar story. It’s the story of a war that ‘ended’ but still has its tentacles weaved throughout the daily lives of Vietnamese citizens.
Note that these are the CHILDREN of parents hit with Agent Orange.
Note the text below the picture – this is taken in 2003. The USA is still helping Vietnam find undetonated bombs in Vietnam.