I don’t know how to describe the way I feel. I’m ashamed. Upset. Angry. Hurt. Today, I can’t say I’m proud to be an American.
I’ve been to Dachau concentration camp. I’ve visited Anne Frank’s house. I’ve been to the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. Yet, nothing has made me feel the way that this museum has. The photographs will haunt my memory for as long as I live.
The War Remnant Museum in Ho Chi Min City features three floors of pictures and memorabilia from the war. The first floor has anti-war posters and pictures from all of the protests from around the world against the war, including those in America. The second and third floors include several rooms of photographs of those involved in the war, and they are the hardest to get through.
When you enter the first room of photographs, there is a quote on the wall from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” How ironic.
From my understanding of the Vietnam War, I believed that we came over to help the South against the North and against Communism. From what I observed, however, it doesn’t look like we helped. Burning homes, spraying Agent Orange, shooting and killing innocent children. Either I wasn’t paying attention in history class, or I wasn’t taught the truth. Now there are two sides to every story, but some of what happened here, to these innocent victims, doesn’t make sense. To me, it seems it was more of a genocide than anything else.
Seeing what happened here has changed me, made me feel differently about the world and the way we treat those in it.
American or not, everyone should visit this museum, in honor of those who died, whether they be the Americans drafted over or the innocent Vietnamese civilians. Or for those who are still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange.