In Da Nang, Vietnam, American and Vietnamese war veterans sat together on the 4th of July, eating burgers and fries while iconic music of the war — Creedence Clearwater Revival — played in the background. Once on opposite sides the war, the two groups have come together to bury the hatchet, and leave the past behind them.
“I can feel the friendship,” said Nguyen Tien, a former Vietnamese fighter who lost his legs to American artillery during the war. “We have closed the door on the past.”
The event was organized by Larry Vetter a retired Marine who moved to Vietnam three years ago. Vetter now lives among some of the very people he was once sent to fight, and to kill. The gathering is a marker of how far the geopolitical relationship between the U.S. and the Vietnamese government have come. For the men who fought for the two sides, it’s a chance at closure.
“I’ve learned how to forgive from the Vietnamese,” said Chuck Palazzo, a retired Marine who moved to Vietnam eight years ago and is leading an effort to build a rest home for 5,000 victims of Agent Orange. “I’ve learned from them to keep looking forward.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)
White supremacist James Jackson – accused of trying to start a race war by killing a homeless black man in Times Square with a sword — pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder as an act of terrorism.
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army
A Texas veteran is suing the company he says knowingly produced and sold defective earplugs which were issued to the U.S. military, leading him and many others to develop hearing problems, including tinnitus.