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  Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
     
  Vietnam Scrapbook
     


Leslie Smith
Washington, DC, USA | Photo Submission

I was born in 1967 and felt the spectre of Vietnam throughout my childhood. I think I felt a collective feeling of despair and disappointment over our involvement in the conflict. I laid on my stomach for hours pondering a collection of Life magazine photographs from the war. I also recall the acute absence of history lessons about Vietnam in school and I remember one high school teacher in my college town in Western Pennsylvania who was summarily fired for his leftist teachings on the war. In college I spent six months researching a thesis about media coverage of the Tet Offensive and woke up in nightmares after watching Walter Cronkite documentaries. In 1996 I traveled throughout Vietnam, marveling at the gorgeous countryside and studying the people as respectively and thoroughly as possible. It troubled me to hear self-centered Americans obsessing over war history, the DMZ for example or the Cu Chi tunnels, and asking repeatedly, Are you still angry? Do you hate the Americans? I strongly suggest that we read Vietnamese literature, like the wonderful novel, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, to understand the mentality of a people who have undergone a history of independence movements. They believe in a cycle of renewal and hardly dwell on past offenses. I don't profess to understand their perspective entirely, but I think if presumptuous to play out my guilt and expect or demand their forgiveness and redemption.
I have a couple of photos I would like to submit with this account, if you don't mind. Please let me know if it is possible to do so. Thank you for the opportunity to write,
Sincerely,
Leslie Smith


Photo: Leslie Smith


Photo: Leslie Smith


Photo: Leslie Smith

   

 

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