Since arriving here, I’ve seen a lot of history and learned a lot about a culture I knew very little about. Obviously I learned about the Vietnam war in school but not from the other side, because like with most history books, the victor writes what they want.
It was extremely eye opening to see the US portrayed as the villains since we only see ourselves as the heroes. To see the destruction we caused, the ignorance we had about agent orange, the ego our country’s leaders had to join a war that was so unsupported by the people, that made me question a lot. I think there was a lot of ignorance from the government, from the soldiers, from the people, and for the decisions made. To see a museum where the people who died fighting AGAINST the US being hailed as patriots and heroes made me pause. Maybe we aren’t always as good as we think we are. Not everyone wants the same things that Americans hold to be dear. Not all people of the world want democracy. Not all people are unhappy, but I firmly believe it is not our place to force our beliefs onto other nations.
Having met some Vietnamese people, I see that they are happy with their lives even with the destruction that the US delivered to them. There is no ill-will or resentment, but a desire to find peace and move on. I attribute this to buddhism and a belief that peace on earth and among each other is more important than selfish, power-driven wishes of those in control. I find myself gaining a deep respect for the Vietnamese because of their happiness, and clear love of life.