In 1967-68 I was a Marine in the war in Vietnam. It was a year that would change my life for good and bad forever.
In May of 2000 I returned to Vietnam with other Marine Veterans of the war. My reason for going back was just to see the country as it is today, not to relive the war.
During my trip I experienced almost every human emotion. Vietnam is like a small town in the mid-west of the 1950's in many ways. People are very friendly and smile and say hello to the stranger. They wish to know where you are from, are you married, why did you travel here? They are kind and caring people. It is so strange that I feel as if I had returned home after being away for many years.
Vietnam today is moving ahead to the future. A country on the move and full of change. I'm allowed to go almost anywhere and talk to anyone and the Vietnamese are not shy to tell you what is on their minds.
The treasure of Vietnam is the children. They are everywhere and follow the strangers around. Little gifts of toys from home make their day! They are so wonderful and full of hope for the future.
I learned so much during my trip about myself and Vietnam and again my life is changed by that country but only in a positive way.
I thought this would be my last trip to Vietnam but next year I'm going back. When asked this time why I'm going back I'll answer in the Vietnamese way; I'm returning to Vietnam for heart medicine. When I was there during the war my heart was broken by the things I saw happen to the Americans and Vietnamese people. I had lost hope for the future of both countries. Returning to Vietnam I found that there is hope and it can be seen there everywhere I look. My heart then heals!
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