When a friend of Viet recommended we visit the War Remnants Museum in Saigon, he described it as very Anti-American and brutally graphic. Having heard this, I was very unsure about how I would feel during my visit.
As you would think, The overwhelming theme of the Museum is global condemnation of America for its part in the War, and the war crimes and consequences suffered.
Mentally expecting, understanding and setting aside the propaganda, regardless of the view point of the designers, one would have to agree that the tragedies suffered during the war, including American, Vietnamese and countless other nations, is horrific. The lasting effects of the War are still seen and felt today.
In fact, the main purpose of our Vietnam Medical Mission is to treat those people who have been seriously wounded during and after the war. Since the end of the war, over 100,000 men, woman and children are still being injured or killed due to silent land mines left during the war era. Of the over 260 amputees that we fit prosthetics for, over 80% of them are due to land mine accidents. In addition, our medical clinic and charity work reaches those patients that are affected by the lasting negative effects of Agent Orange. During the War, Dioxin, decidedly the most terrible chemical ever to be discovered, was used to level rural areas and flush out enemy troops. It is estimated that over 44 million liters of Agent Orange was used from 1961 to 1971, and that an estimated 2 to 4 million Vietnamese people have been directly exposed and have had the long lasting negative effects.
War, whatever side you look at, is a terrible, deadly, and ultimately destructive act.
One must approach this topic with an open mind, but if one can accomplish this, the human compassion will surface. Hopefully Peace prevails.
It was one of the most difficult, yet moving decisions to visit this Museum and reflect on human nature and man-kinds lasting effects on the world!