It’s the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam Christmas Bombings but you wouldn’t know it over here. We’ve been in Saigon for a few days now and it’s been very interesting to see how the Vietnam War is remembered here – from the war museum to combat memorials.
Let me back up. We escorted a group in December 2022 that started in Hanoi, on to Ha Long Bay, and then a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. After 3 days in Siem Reap we drove down to Phnom Penh and boarded our Avalon Waterways Mekong River Cruise, which disembarked in Saigon 4 days ago. We are headed home today. And Kelly has a separate post on this amazing journey! This post is about traveling here now and remembering the Vietnam War – from different points of view.
In general, the people today seem to have a favorable opinion of Americans and that’s both in the North and the South. Based on the War Remnants Museum exhibits (which contains both history and propaganda), the major grievance seems to be the lasting effects of agent orange.
I’m pictured coming out of the tunnel system the VC used just north of Saigon. The stairs are new but the 40 meters I crawled through the existing tunnels is certainly not somewhere I would want to stay for an extended period of time. These tunnels connect over 120 miles of a “hidden city” that they could pop up out of nowhere.
I have renewed (or I should say, additional) respect for our US soldiers that served over here and what they had to deal with.
After US forces left in 1975, Vietnam became one country again – under a repressive communist regime for about 10 or so years – after which time the system was a complete and utter failure. Today I would say they now have a semi-socialist system with free markets open to businesses and entrepreneurs.
The people I’ve met in Cambodia and Vietnam are good people. We leave tonight, Christmas Eve, to head back home to the good ‘ole USA.
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