Friendship from War

The pictures around me nearly brought me to tears: crippled, disabled children, stories of loss and hurt. This paint on the walls of this room was orange, to represent the toxic agent that was sprayed during the American-Vietnamese war, this dioxin is one of the most deadly chemicals known to mankind.
Each room in the War memorial museum brought a new light to the picture; American history books never did this war justice. I have never been more embarrassed to be an American: not only for the actions that occurred during this time, but even more so for my ignorance of this war. Throughout the war, there was utter destruction, a blind eye was turned toward the action of much of our military and America used Vietnam as a testing grounds for the inventions of military engineers.
Furthermore, while Americans could go home after the war, the home of the Vietnamese was in ruins. Power plants, universities, hospitals were decimated in both the north and south. Families were lost or separated, and wounds were inflicted that would never heal. Even 40 years later effects of agent orange still exist, passed on through generations and still present in the earth upon which it was sprayed.
My eyes were open to the atrocities, but even more than that I was humbled, a constant lesson in this delightful country.
One of the largest rooms in the museum was the room of rebuilding. This room showed pictures of villages, cities, bridges and people that were devastated by the war and right next to those , picture of the rebuilt cities, the modern world that sprang up to replace that which was lost. Amongst the devastation, there was hope. It was so beautiful, and spoke volumes about the mindset of these incredible people. They are forward thinking, and in country I’ve been taught to pity for their political situation there was great joy, freedom and a vision among the people!
Leaving the museum, we then walked down the street to September 23rd park ( a place where young Vietnamese students come to make friends with foreigners and practice english- it’s an incredibly cool place to have in a city!!) and immediately we were greeted by a young Vietnamese man with his english cheat sheet, (you know them when you see them, especially when you carry your own version for their language), he extends his hand to me and says “Will be you my friend?”, and immediately I respond with “vang”.


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