Today, we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, a system of tunnels and bunkers designed to harbor Vietnamese soldiers and weapons during the war. The tunnels were incredibly well preserved due to the fact that they aren’t subject to the effects of weathering over time. The tunnels are extremely discrete and some are not even visible from the surface until you’re standing directly above them.
Visiting this Vietnamese war site, there was definitely an underlying tone of “Americans are evil devils,” making it sound as though the Vietnamese are holding onto some truly negative feelings towards the American people as a whole. However, this could not be further from the case. Every Vietnamese student I’ve talked to has only had incredibly positive things to say about American citizens and America as a whole. The statistics we heard earlier in the week about 84% of the Vietnamese people having a positive view of Americans confirms this. The war is told in these exhibits from the winner’s point of view, but in this case, this point of view does not extend to the citizens of Vietnam.
After visiting the tunnels, we stopped briefly at a cemetery to put everything into perspective. This was a very powerful experience that I can’t even begin to describe. Every time we learn more about the war, I have trouble wrapping my head around the complexities of the strategies used and the sheer number of lives lost.