Monday, February 15, 2010

Vietnam, 42 years later

My time in Vietnam started in September 1968 and ended in June 1971. That's a long time, and a long time ago, anyway that you cut it.

During our current return visit, my wife and I are staying in Bac Lieu, way down toward the southern tip of the country where I was a U.S. Army Signal company commander. Bac Lieu was the second largest of the company's six sites.

How much have things changed? Unbelieveably as the country seems to have road and bridge projects underway everywhere, to say nothing of new residential and business construction.

In America we still think of the Vietnam War, but as one travel book puts it, the Vietnamese think of themselves as a nation, not a war.

Someone pointed out to me where the Bac Lieu Army airfield used to sit. Back then it was away from the city. It wasn't much more than a strip of pierced steel planking that clanked when you walked on it. Now that old site is at the very heart of the city. The central post office sits on it.
There is also a Bac Lieu bird sanctuary that 40 years ago was a sanctuary for Viet Cong. A photo is attached showing jungle and brown water today, not so different from what it might have looked during the war. But definitely more peaceful now.


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