Since today was another weekend day and there was no classes, we took another day trip, this time to the Cu Chi Tunnel System. During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong dug a vast and intricate network of tunnels so that they could move about and conduct business below ground; allowing them to neutralize the US’s advantage of superior airpower. We were given the opportunity to walk through some of these tunnels and despite their cramped nature, it was clear how effective they would be in assisting the Viet Cong’s guerrilla warfare tactics. The sheer size of the tunnels was also incredible- it is believed that the longest stretches about 250 km continuously.
Accompanying the tunnels were several memorials and historical sites where we were able to see how the Vietnam War/America War is portrayed from the Vietnamese perspective. Seeing videos celebrating certain Vietnamese soldiers who killed a lot of Americans or even just hearing the workers refer to Americans as the “enemy” was somewhat humbling. Since the United States’ defeat didn’t result in any damage on our home front, this isn’t exactly a case where “history is written by the victors”. Rather, both countries who participated are able to write their own history so a clear discrepancy has been formed.
Despite the governments view on the war, the Vietnamese people hold no grudge with Americans. It will be interesting to see if how the war is remembered changes as our relationship improves. This also makes me wonder if the perspective has already changed considering how much better our current favorability is; how was the war presented when Americans and Vietnamese weren’t on good terms?