40 years on, where are the young ones in VN headed?
Updated: Nov 2
On 30th April 1975 the young men of America came home from war. Forty years on, in the Little Saigon’s of America, the end of that war is still commemorated as a day of mourning. And in that place across the vast ocean, where the blood of other young men and their fathers and old women and their daughters, has longed turned to rust, old men continue to make self congratulatory speeches about the great unification.
I was not there, in that country, 40 years ago. All I remember of that time is Peter, Paul and Mary’s anti-war ballad – “where have all the flowers gone … “
Forty years on, this is what I know:
I look around at the young girls, my nieces and grand-nieces. Yes, almost all have gone for husbands. But oh, how far they’ve gone! One went to Taiwan as a matchmaking agency bride, one to Australia after hooking up with friend of a second cousin, another two have married Vietnamese-Americans whom they met while studying there. Only one remains in Vietnam.
What about the young men who would have gone to be soldiers? Hair tinted red, shades on, some are revving their motorbikes through the town, dealing in a bit of this and some of that. Others, with thin faces and plastic glasses are worrying about the grades they might not score because they can’t afford the gifts richer students ply their teachers with while yet others, sleek from their cuts of this and that, party the nights away. And then there are the ones in the over-crowded Buddhist temples and Catholic seminaries, the ones looking for something beyond. The guns are silenced, I can imagine one of them telling me, how else can they fight the good fight for truth, beauty and justice in such times, forty years on?