Warning for all of those traveling to Vietnam: no matter how much water you drink, it’ll never be enough. I feel like I sweat out the same amount of liquid I drank. Despite this, our trip to the Cu Chi tunnels is a day I’ll never forget.
I’m not a fan of small dark places. I’m definitely not a fan of small dark places without AC. As such, I have so much respect for the Vietnamese soldiers who once lived in the tunnels we saw today. During the war, guerrilla soldiers would use these tunnels for everything from kitchens to classrooms. In the day, the soldiers would stay underground to avoid any detection, only emerging at night. If American soldiers happened to find a tunnel entrance, the Vietnamese were still pretty well defended – if you didn’t know your way around, you could end up in a deadly trap.
Today was helpful for understanding how the Viet Cong soldiers lived day to day. We saw what they ate, the clothes they wore, how they dug. While I saw no signs displaying exactly how the Vietnamese felt about the war, more information was in the subtext. During an informational video, two soldiers were named heroes for killing a large amount of Americans. It felt more weird than upsetting to hear that.History is written by the victor, and in this war, I don’t think anyone really won. Each country has their own interpretation of the war and what it meant. However, learning about how the “opposite side” understands the war helps me to humanize the people in it, and better understand a large part of our shared history.