| Semester at Sea Chronicles | Vietnam | November 15, 2017 | Cu Chi Tunnels |
The Vietnam War. A sore spot in American history.
Touring the Cu Chi Tunnels, our group learned pieces of history, strategy, and the logistics involved in the warfare that occurred in what was described to us as the American War. The man standing with us is a war veteran. Through a translator, we heard his depictions of the war, and how he lived in the tunnels. At one point he paused for questions and I found myself holding my breath to hear the answer to one particular question.
Q: Do American veterans ever return to Vietnam to visit the tunnels? How do you feel when they visit?
His answer shocked me. His face fell as he explained that yes, American veterans do return to revisit the tunnels and that it’s hard for any veterans who revisit, though there is rarely unresolved anger or hatred. The veteran explained that every opportunity he can, he welcomes every veteran with opens arms as a long lost brother who has returned home to visit.
His answer echoed in my mind as I walked through the forests above the tunnels, trying to picture wartime scenes. It echoed through my mind while I was on my hands and knees crawling through the tunnels, trying to imagine how anyone could possibly live within such a compact space. And I want it to echo in your minds. Even in the chaos of war and the mark it leaves behind, forgiveness can be found. It must be found. Hate has no place in this world.
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