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Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Utter Weariness of War. Memories of Vietnam


A war memorial to South Vietnamese soldiers near Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. 1967


I remember the day I took this photo. I had gone with a girl I knew. When she had been at school she and her best friend had fallen in love with two young officers. Young Vietnamese girls were terribly romantic. A danger for all and sundry.
They got married to the said officers shortly afterwards who then went back to the never ending war and the girls continued with higher education.

The one I knew became an interpreter which is how I got to know her. Her husband was killed and didn't come back. Her best friend's did. She told me he had been turning over the body of a dead Viet Cong which had been booby trapped. Unlucky and unwise. Then the best friend's husband went back to the war and got himself killed as well.

So the young lady I took to this war memorial to pay her respects to her dear departed one was a war widow. A very beautiful young war widow and so very sad. South Vietnam, and doubtless North Vietnam, was full of war widows, many of them young and beautiful. Such was one little story in the history of the war I recall on this the eleventh day of November 2007. And what happened to the young war widow? That sadly is one of the unfinished stories of South Vietnam. There were so many unfinished tales with no endings. Logically, and if my suspicions are correct it also had a very sad ending. But such is ever the destiny of romantic young girls.

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