VIETNAM…AGAIN

A torrent of books about the Vietnam War has flooded the market, most of them documenting battles, strategy, and personal journals of life during the war. There are far fewer books about soldiers who have returned to that country four decades later. Most men and women who served during the Vietnam War were only too glad to leave, never looking back. I was one of those until last year. I spent two weeks touring Vietnam, one of a group of a dozen veterans. That journey made me re-evaluate my life and everything I thought I knew about Vietnam and its people. I found answers to questions I had long buried in my mind and absolved me of the indignity I had carried all of those years. It also opened a vision into America that I had always suspected, but had never seen. The book, “Vietnam…Again,” follows our flight into Hanoi and the two-week journey south to Ho Chi Minh City, with stops at Dong Hoi, Quang Tri, Hue, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet. The tour guide, an NVA veteran, became a valued friend and showed us how Vietnam has evolved and prospered since the war. I found a gracious people who welcomed us as friends and shared with us the beauty and hospitality of their country. The book explains the maturing of Vietnam and visits the ancient cities with the striking architecture and craftsmanship that helps define the Vietnamese people.

“Vietnam…Again” is more than a travelogue. It explores the edification of a soldier returning to the place where he fought; the reality of coming to terms with his prejudices and antipathy toward a former foe. I found answers to questions I had long buried in my mind and absolved me of the indignity I had carried all of those years, and it opened a vision into America that I had always suspected, but had never seen.