We continued on our journey to Reunification Palace the sight of the dramatic last days of the war when the North Vietnamese tanks came storming in. It was amazing to think that this was the place where South Vietnamese forces and US military met to discuss war strategy. This was somewhat the center of the war.
We looked through the gates and I could tell that my father was having trouble with seeing the palace. It now stands as a symbol of victory and loss; victory for Vietnam and loss for the US. He stood there and said, “This is good for Vietnam. They now have their country and they can do with it what they want to.” And he said, “It was never our country.” And he was right. Vietnam had been under the rule of other countries for it’s entire existence and they wanted independence. That realization seemed to be an easing gratification but also a bitter pill. He was thinking about all of those US soldiers who had died for a cause that was not realized, but he was seeing the benefits of the Vietnamese having independence. And the most important thing is that he has seen the same pride in country coming from the Vietnamese here that he himself shows in his own country. I could see that his mind was reeling trying to come to terms with the contradictive perspectives.
Listen to Chris as he talks about his father's impressions of Ho Chi Minh City.