Vietnam Redo (part 4): War Paint

At one time, in the last century, Americans dabbed charcoal-tinted war paint on their faces and attempted to subdue a combined imperial and civil conflict in Vietnam. The fight was ideological mostly, as wars usually are, and the Americans got lost in the jungle. With the help of helicopters and other devices, the US troops were found and returned home. A demilitarized zone (the DMZ) eventually dissolved and a north Vietnam combined with a south Vietnam.


A legacy of that era is preserved and recounted at various locations within the Socialist Republic of Vietnam today. Interestingly, in 2018 while visiting both halves of the country, and the one-time DMZ in-between, I did not detect excessive exuberance of the victor, but a more subdued presentation of resignation to the duplicitous rewards of war. Other visitors to the country may disagree. Some celebration of bravery and sacrifices made is understandable, given the odds against success fighting China, then France and the US, but today’s youth in Vietnam have moved on and even forgotten the details of former battles. The museums, memorials and historical sites are probably as thought-provoking to visitors from the US, France, and other places as they are to the inhabitants of this young nation.