Monday, November 10, 2008

What's Important this Veterans Day?

A few months ago, I did a post about a little Vietnamese boy I did not know, grabbing my hand as we both edged into a sea of motorbikes to cross the street. The original is here.

Tonight in reviewing and re-publishing my work over this last year I ran across my old post again but had forgotten the beautiful and poignant response from Ken Herrmann, who had been here during the war. Today we only fight motorbikes in Vietnam. That's important to remember.

Ken Herrmann Jr said...

Your post reminded me of late 68 and early 69 when I lived in Hiep Duc village, thirty=five miles southwest of Danang, as the liaison for the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. There were 1,500 locals resettled in the village and me. I lived on a small hill next to the village. Each morning a few kids from the village would wake me. One I called "Mao" because he was the spitting image of a tiny Mao. I ate breakfast with him and his buddies, before walking down the hill to feed the village with hundreds of boxes of stolen C-rations. Later each day an ARVN surgeon came to the village for a medcap. Sometimes Capt Goldberg, the 4th/31st Infantry Battalion surgeon came to treat the people. I recall Mao holding my hand when a little girl, about four-years of age wandered into the village one morning. She walked and stared at us, but I looked at her brain. Her skull had been blown off the night before. The ARVN surgeon told me he would bring her home that day. "I don't know what my wife will say about this." He had brought home about a dozen kids I had begged him to help. I wonder what happened to her. I wonder what happened to him. I wonder more when you write about the little boy who held your hand. Some things never end. Some thoughts are never silent.

Thanks, David.

Ken works as a Professor of Social Work at SUNY and runs a Vietnam and foreign studies program there. He and I have been corresponding for nearly three years now, well before the birth of this blog, based on a PSA I did for his program.

Thank you for reminding me of this, Ken.

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