The Cu Chi tunnels we visited today were just brilliant. The Viet Cong were so smart on the fly by digging these complex tunnels by hand, which included places to hide, along with functional rooms like kitchens and medical rooms. The tunnels were covered by leaves and there were exhibitions outside of the tunnels showing the types of deadly traps they set up. They were so well-hidden and also in a great location in between Ho Chi Minh City and escaping to Cambodia. They were called the Ghost Army because they would show up, attack, and disappear in the blink of an eye. The tunnels were also so small, as they were cramped for us even though they have been widened for tourism purposes. We were surrounded by jungle when at the Cu Chi Tunnels, which the Americans were very unfamiliar with. The Vietnamese I have interacted with have expressed their love for the United States, and we have been over statistics in development lectures that show that current percent of Vietnamese that have a favorable opinion of the United States is at an all-time high now. This is because a large, important economic relation through trade, which started when relations were restored to normalcy in the ’90s. The government has showcased, at both the Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum, the marvels on behalf of the Vietnamese and the faults of Americans. I believe my generation has an understanding of the war, but it doesn’t paint the opposing country in a bad manner because of the current relationship between the countries. People’s opinions are affected by their environment growing up, and the Vietnamese that I’ve interacted with have been interacting with Americans from Pitt in a friendly setting that has only increase their favor of the United States.
An authentic Vietnamese lunch of spring rolls, chicken wings, pork, fried squid, rice, and pineapple was a delicious, refreshing stop after getting hot and sweaty in the tunnels. We made a short stop to observe a Vietnamese cemetery, honoring the fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War. This cemetery was comparable in look to Arlington Cemetery in the United States. The picture of me next to the plane features six stars on the plane, one for each United States plane it shot down.
Can’t believe we’re more than halfway done now!