How small and sour-grapes our postwar punishment of Vietnam, our trade and diplomatic embargoes that keep the country in economic ruin. How self-punishing and miserly in American spirit are these policies. How much better it would be for our national pride if we offered this country our help, for it is we and those who threw in their lot with us who seem to dwell in needless quandary, who live lives punctuated by active resentments and pain.

Go visit Vietnam, I’d tell the troubled vets. Go visit, if you can, and do something good there, and your pain won’t seem so private, your need for resentment so great.

-John Balaban in “Remembering Heaven’s Face: A Moral Witness in Vietnam” (1991)

Remembering Heaven’s Face

Book, Quote

To remember the days of war

We have come to you this afternoon

Our old battlefield still here.

Yet how do we find your graves

Now hidden by 30 years of growth.

In your youth like the leaves so green

Your blood soaks the earth red

For today’s forest to grow.

Words cannot describe how we miss you

Our fingers trace the bark for clues of days past.

We imagine you resting for a thousand peaceful autumns

Feeling the loss of each of you.

We come to rejoin a span of bridge

For the happiness of those living.

On a calm autumn afternoon in Ia Drang

Veterans join hands.

After 30 years we relive that battle

Between two sides of the frontline.

Now we stand at each other’s side

Remembering generals and soldiers of years past

Bring back the months and years of history

Untroubled by ancient rifts

We look together toward the future

Hoping that generations to come will remember.

Our people know love and bravery

We leave old hate for new friendships.

Together we will live in peace

So that this land will remain ever green

Forever in peace and harmony.

– A poem composed by NVA veteran Col.Tran Minh Hao upon meeting American veteran Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore in Vietnam, as translated in We are Soldiers Still

Veterans join hands: A poem

Poem, Poetry, Veterans, Vietnam

“I can’t think of two countries that have worked harder, done more, and done better to try to bring themselves together and change history and change the future and provide a future for people which is now very, very different.”

– US Secretary of State John Kerry talking about Vietnam and the United States in Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 14, 2013

Kerry on the relationship between Vietnam and the US


“You need someone to listen for a story to be told. With one percent of the population serving, it’s the other 99 that make veterans. They are our creators. So I think it’s important for everyone to understand the veterans’ story and to allow for it to be part of a regular discussion. Not that it’s some sort of sacred right that’s only discussed between veterans, but something that is part of the national dialogue.”

-Benjamin Busch, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, at the Prtizker Military Library on Dec. 4, 2013

Linking veterans and nonvets