As a history teacher, I was motivated to explore life in Vietnam before, during and after the war. The following photos reveal my daily treks to search for some meaning in the causes and effects of this twisted, unpopular, and politically driven Vietnam War.
Living history was right before my eyes everyday!
So many historical concepts were revealed while reading and touring Vietnam: WWII, Communism, Diplomacy, Cold War, Domino Theory, Colonization, Civil War, Guerilla warfare, US foreign policy, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon era…
We landed in Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon) where we spent 5 nights in the beautiful Grand Hotel.
French colonial rule can be seen in food and architecture
The Opera House : we attended the performance- The Soul of Vietnam
The Hotel Continental is the meeting place for the characters in Graham Greene’s well written book, The Quiet American, about the French IndoChina War. (1946-1958).
Reunification Palace (name given after the War)- built by the French
Once Vietnam was independent from French colonial rule, President Diem moved into the palace and ruled South Vietnam with the support of US. He opposed unification of the two Vietnams, hence, the name after the war: Reunification Palace. Maybe he was corrupt and not a democratic ruler but our policy was: as long as you are anti-Communist, you are on our side.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Built by the Viet Cong (Communist troops in South Vietnam)
These tunnels were constructed by the locals as protection from the US soldiers and ARVN (South Vietnam army). They twisted for 124 miles through the jungle. Hospitals, sleeping quarters and schools could be found in this underground shelter. American soldiers continuously dropped bombs over the tunnels, killing civilians and the enemy. Tunnel rats (US soldiers) were deployed to find the tunnel activity. The openings were much smaller than pics depict (widened for tourist) and about 8-10 meters deep.
The area was surrounded by booby traps, mines…
The enemy used our bombs to make their own weapons
After a eating a bowl of Pho (traditional Vietnam bowl of noodles, broth, and spices) and reading the history of the war, I caught a taxi to the War Remnants Museum. Upon arriving, I regretted eating Pho (see below)
War Remnants Museum
Pictures for all you military buffs:
Ho Chi Minh: Leader of the Communist in Vietnam
The Mekong Delta
Site of some of the heaviest fighting in the War
The Mekong River begins in Tibet and empties in the Delta, southern Vietnam.
Great Rice Bowl of Vietnam; produces 1/2 of the countries rice
Mary and I were invited to return next summer to the Mekong Valley and work in the village.
I just want to make sure all the pythons are well fed!