Oh, Vietnam - How Little I Know You
Right now my face feels warm and is no doubt red with embarrassment.
We arrived here in Ho Chi Minh (in the south of Vietnam) yesterday evening from Cambodia. We quickly found a cheap hotel and realized that we were really hungry, so we decided to discuss our "secret plan" for Vietnam over dinner.
I told William that I was really interested in seeing important places during the Vietnam war. I told him that I really wanted to go to Saigon which I was pretty sure was in the center of Vietnam a few hundred kilometers north of where we are in Ho Chi Minh.
We decided that Saigon was the perfect place to carry out our plan.
That night I hopped onto Wikipedia to dig into this country's history and suddenly realized how little I knew.
We were already in "Saigon".
Saigon got renamed to "Ho Chi Minh" after the Vietnam War (which is called the "American War" here).
Today we visited the Reunification Palace (formerly known as Independence Palace) which was the "white house" of South Vietnam during the war. In 1975 the war ended when north Vietnamese tanks busted down the gates of the palace.
It was so weird to be in such a historical place that was so famous back in the 70's.
Today most teens, and sadly, a lot of people my age don't even know what the Reunification Place is. I knew what it was, but there were a lot of things I didn't know.
History is a story coming from a perspective. The history I learned in America is different than the history the Vietnamese learn, or the Germans learn, or the Africans learn.
For example, the Vietnam War history I got in the American public schools never mentioned the My Lai Massacre. That's a significant event to forget to mention.
This isn't a political forum and I'm not a hippie that thinks that we should poop rainbows, but in my opinion, war is never a good thing.