Four decades have passed since the GUARDIAN sat in Saigon in 1967 watching the tracer rounds, rockets, and flares pass overhead while listening to the thud of B-52 bombs exploding in the distance all the while knowing black and white Americans were fighting in the streets of Detroit in some of the bloodiest race riots in our history.
INAUGURATION DAY 2009
Sitting in a Vietnam hotel room half a world away from USA and the historic inauguration of President Obama gives one pause to consider the irony of watching the BBC in Da Nang 40 years after we Americans were “fighting for freedom.”
We now have a black president in the USA and Vietnam is at peace under a communist government.
(not “communist rule” or “lacking freedom” or “under a dictator”)
The communist red flag with gold star flies proudly from homes and public buildings and tourists trudge the streets of historic Hoi An among pagodas with locals hawking lampshades and tailor made suits. Across the river workers under conical hats tend the rice paddies.
With literally thousands of years of history under their belts, the “American War” was a mere blip on the radar sce\reen of time. Breakfast with three recent university grads from Australia along with a dinner conversation among Irish, Swiss, Belgium and British travelers confirms the optimism the world holds for a “Changed America.”
A further irony is trying to understand fighting to defeat communism in the 1960’s and 70’s while knowing we Americans are giving government funds to auto plants and banks. Here in Vietnam they do the same thing and even manufacture Ford cars in Hanoi. There is little difference to the average American–or Vietnamese when it comes to economics.
There are only losers in shooting wars of philosophy.
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