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**still catching up**
On Tuesday we visited the War Remnants Museum (previously called the War Crimes Museum, but renamed in the ‘90s). The day before, our lecture with Dr. Robert focused on the post-war period in Vietnam, and the main consideration from it was that Vietnam has moved in, particularly in the South. It’s odd because when Americans think of Vietnam, there is largely still a focus on “the war.” But here, especially in this population that’s so young, the war has really just become one of those things you learn about in history class at school. It’s true that with some research or analysis we can see that there are still effects from the war, like unexploded ordnance that still endangers the population especially in rural lands, more than forty years after the war ended, and other socioeconomic effects. But for the most part, the worries of most Vietnamese today are not centered on the war or any sort of hatred of America or whatever. So with that in mind, we visited the museum.
The museum is intensely one-sided. Take a look at some of the pictures in this gallery: there are a lot of photographs that have strong captions below them. However, I do believe it was a significant and necessary experience for us as American students. It’s rare to see U.S. wars presented from the other side anywhere, and honestly, being there helped me notice the “patriotism” in our own country. As in- it is patriotism to us, but it can easily offend, as well. And this war was so important not only because of specifically what happened, but for being the first media war, and one of the only wars that the U.S. really cannot boldly claim a victory- although in the end with all loss of life wars seem to end quite ambiguously anyway.
The war museum is particularly popular among tourists, noticeably popular. But though it’s maintained by the government, there are no crazy signs of lasting vengeance or anything ridiculous in the country or among the Vietnamese people that we’ve met. And it makes sense: it happened more than forty years ago, and like the Vietnamese people, the American people have to move on.