I have been twice now - once in 2005 and again last year - and both times were a sock to the gut. I had forgotten about that song "19", and now it is in my head...thanks Kevin ;). There is also a song called "I was only 19" by an Australian band, Redgum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urtiyp-G6jY , which gives an Aussies perspective of being a Vietnam war veteran.
That was the average age of US soldiers being drafted into the war. As I learned from the hit song from the 80’s:
Sunday, I went to the War Remnants museum here in Saigon with one of the DC members, Stacey.
As expected, it was a blast of sobering reality in addition to being a sock to the gut.
4 floors of pictures, quotes, stories, maps, weapons, and relevant info regarding the war. I took only a few select pictures of mostly quotes I found important.
There’s not much I can say. The most disturbing thing was the Agent Orange humanitarian disaster. The American planes started basically carpet bombing parts of the country with Agent Orange starting in 1961. This led to the sickest diseases and deformities. The pictures were so disturbing that I’ve had to compartmentalize it in my head because it’s too much to stomach. It’s surreal to see the pictures.
One revelation I had was that all those movies we were exposed to about the war mostly focused on the soldiers’ perspective, what they were going through. Seeing the museum shows the other side of the story- which is multitudes worse in terms of numbers of people affected.
Overall, I thought it was a fairly truthful display, outside of the propaganda around communism being the solution to war, and propping up Ho Chi Minh as the savior.
Will be working for two straight days now and then headed to Dalat, a mountain town, for a few days. Will be nice to get out of the city for a bit!
Note: Picture quality. I noticed some of my pictures have this whitish tint. I think my camera never really recovered after getting wet in Bali in the rain. Then I checked out my new friend Jodi’s blog http://legalnomads.com, and I really have low photo self esteem. My next purchase I think will be a reasonably decent camera that’s portable.
More from Nam soon!