Many find peace in a land that has haunted them, as they apologize to and raise money for victims.
April 30 2015 - When Richard Parker left Vietnam in 1970, he planned to leave his memories of napalm attacks firmly in the past. Instead, as time marched on, they haunted him.
“We were the bad guys,” Parker, now 65, said of the American war effort in Vietnam. “I had some ghosts I had to face down.”
In 2011, Parker flew from Illinois to Danang, a central Vietnamese city where he had worked for 22 months as a builder in the Navy. First he visited nearby places he still remembered, including a mountain pass where he had seen shooting.
On the same trip, a Vietnamese man who once worked for the Marines introduced Parker to some American veterans who lived in Danang full time. Parker enjoyed meeting them and seeing the country in a new light – so much so that he moved to Danang a few months later.
The presence of American war veterans in today’s Vietnam – and the warm welcome they usually receive – is yet another sign of how much the U.S.-Vietnamese relationship has evolved since the countries normalized relations in 1995.
“They want to see a different Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thi Nga, 34, who often hosts American veterans and other expatriates at her seaside restaurant in Danang. read more>>>