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Monday, November 19, 2007

Day in Saigon

We began our time in Vietnam with a visit to the war museum where we learned just how much the US sucked while we had troops in Vietnam. The museum went remarkably easy on the US invaders though you could still tell how much pain we caused the people here. Nearly all of the photos were from US and other non-Vietnamese journalists as were the articles. They did a great job of remaining pretty impartial.

Then we went to the section that detailed the results of using Agent Orange and other types of chemical warfare. It was disturbing and I truly cannot believe that our country did that. But we did.
Seriously, the whole time we were thinking, "what in the hell were we doing here?" It was really heart wrenching, pictures of hospitals and schools that were bombed, children and infants, dead, scarred, disfigured from Napalm, agent orange, other types of bombs, like a nail bomb that explodes thousands of nails everywhere, which were dropped in schools...what the hell???

From there we went to Independence Palace. This was the presidential palace during the war; also it was where the American Generals fought the war. The original was bombed by the French in the 1950s and this one was built in 1962. It hasn't been touched since the fall of Saigon in 1975. It is straight out of the 60s. I kept waiting for Austin Powers to jump out from behind a couch, "goovy baby, yeah!" They even had a rumpus room!
At the end of the tour we watched a film about the palace and the war. One of the guys being interviewed was a Vietcong spy during the war and actually infiltrated the south Vietnamese president's inner circle and was a ranking advisor. He was found out in 1969 and sent to life in prison. He said that after he was sentenced the president told him, that he was sad to see him go and he still trusted the spy more that the Americans.

The video also kept referring to the 'American Imperialist Invaders'. It was really interesting to hear about the war from the Vietnamese perspective and see some of their footage. The people here really love Ho Chi Minh (the pro-communism president during the war) and even renamed Saigon after him once the war was over.

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