In 2003 I stayed between Nha Trang and Cam Ranh in Cam Đức. The older people made me quite the celebrity because I am an American and all had either worked for the Americans in the war or their relatives had. They had fond memories of the Americans. American men were dreamed of as husbands for their daughters because of things like American men don't normally beat their wives. If an American marries a woman who already has children he takes on the whole package and raises the children as if they were his own. In most of the rest of the world those children would have to go to Grandma to live because a man does not support children that are not biologically his.
Americans see someone in trouble, maybe after a scooter crash, and without thought automatically lend a hand. No one else does that. Viets remember that from their experiences of our troops generally. Vietnamese, even old communists, feel that Americans are unlike other foreigners in Việt Nam in that they did not come to stay and were at least helping some Vietnamese. It helps that the conquering armies coming into Sài Gòn encountered a more advanced society than their own. I have heard more then one old soldier say he discovered in April of 75 that the wrong side had won, that if the South had prevailed all Việt Nam would be more prosperous.
posted on 05/02/2015 5:36:34 AM PDT
(Khach san La Vang hanh huong tham vieng Maria)
The impression that I got as a 20 year old PFC was that the villagers looked at us as large, well-armed, and homely kids. I was struck with how friendly they were (at least the ones who weren't actively assisting the Viet Cong) and despite being poor, readily shared their food with us. I spoke very little Vietnamese back then but my high school French worked in most places. Speaking with people really opened doors and helped win confidence.
I wish we had had the political will to stay with it and win. The South Vietnamese were a fine bunch of people and they deserved freedom.
posted on 05/02/2015 11:06:13 AM PDT
(A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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