Never Again: Saigon War Remnant Museum

It numbed a part of my mind. The moment I visited the War Remnant Museum, Saigon. Sure, I have read tons of literature, spent sleepless nights watching movies on the Nam war and felt the terror. And not lived in it. For when Copolla had filmed the Napalm bomb razing over the swaying palm trees on Vietnamese coastline, I retreated back to my safe and privilege abode in Bangalore, India.  Life would be the same next day for me, with a job, cooked food in fridge, a movie over the weekend, salary credited to bank account end of the month. I could, however, relate the horrific stories my grandma had told me as a displaced refugee, running for shelter, leaving behind her homeland during the trying time of partition in Indian subcontinent. What Saigon’s war museum will show you will surpass the pain, will press you to the wall and limn bright as a catalyst of the whirlpool of emotion. I visited war remnant museum only at the end of the trip. And I thank my stars for doing so. “I tasted blood in my mouth.” Lest it be a typical War remnant museum review, I tried to capture the essence of the visit with multiple images.

Saigon War Remnant Museum

Here is a collection of the photographs from the museum that stands witness to massive toll the Vietnam War took on the countrymen. Of course, the temples of My Son were dilapidated. Of course, the country was divided for long and colonial rules thrived. The river Saigon tells history. You just need to learn to decipher her whispers.

 

Love from different parts of the world

I found people all over the world writing the messages of love and peace, barring boundaries of religion, nationality and race. I saw women clad in Saree protesting on the roads on Kolkata. A moment of proud for me, because it could be me from another life. I found rays of hope when a Palestine national writes about strength and victory on the visitor’s note. “And when the planes crashed on the twin towers, all the massages spoke of love.”

Peace be upon us!

DSC_0088 1
Flowers on the tank, I mustered courage to approach it.

Quotes on Vietnam war from contemporaries

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”
― Muhammad Ali

“The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as the Westerner. Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient, and as the philosophy of the Orient expresses it, life is not important.”

– General William Westmoreland, interviewed for the documentary Hearts and Minds

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, Apocalypse Now 

“I had prayed to God that this thing was fiction.” – Colonel William Wilson, a combat veteran who conducted an investigation into the massacre at My Lai

 

DSC_0133 2
The remains of a coptar
endless

DSC_0132 2DSC_0135 2DSC_0136 2

DSC_0137 2
Sleep well children
DSC_0138 2
Hell no, we won’t go! ANONYMOUS, Anti-Vietnam War slogan
North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that. RICHARD NIXON, speech, November 3, 1969

 

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”

– Time magazine editorial about Roger Allen LaPorte, an American pacifist who set himself on fire in protest of American policies in Vietnam, 196589

 

Where we connected, my language
women in Kolkaat protesting against Vietnam War
women in Saree

 

In World War One, they called it shell shock. Second time around, they called it battle fatigue. After ‘Nam, it was post-traumatic stress disorder.
JAN KARON, Home to Holly Springs

 

“As a child, I thought that war and peace were opposites. Yet I lived in peace when Vietnam was in flames and I didn’t experience war until Vietnam had laid down its weapons. I believe that war and peace are actually friends, who mock us.”
― Kim Thúy, Ru

War remnant museum review
Homecoming

DSC_0154 1

 

“The Vietnam War was definitive in the lives of those who served. But those who made it home, never fully returned. My story was an attempt to find that part of me who remained in-country. Upon the story’s completion, I realized the part I left behind, was perpetually lost.”
― Joseph M. Puglia

DSC_0106 2
“Before closing my eyes to Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem, asking him to be kind and tolerant toward his people and to enforce a policy of religious equality.”
– The last written words of Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk who burned himself to death to protest the regime in South Vietnam, May 1960. His words are relevant till date. Lest we forget.

 

“I’ve seen a lot of stuff… maybe I’ve seen too much. I see most humans in a bad light because I’ve seen what they can do, how evil they can be… I’ve seen the Holocaust and I’ve seen Jonestown, I’ve seen the Vietnam War and I’ve seen Hiroshima… I’ve seen the Chernobyl disaster… I’ve seen the World Trade Center attack… I’ve been alive too long, over a hundred years is a long time to be alive,” Alecto sighed, staring at the cigarette he was holding.”
― Rebecca McNutt, Smog City

DSC_0162 2
Workforce
An estimate of expenditures at Saigon War remnant museum

“Funny that the people who aren’t doing the fighting are the most tired of it,” Evan said. “We never knew anything about people being sick of it, or protests, or people thinking we were the bad guys. All our news was censored. We thought everyone would be proud of us, like they are of our dads. We were out there, putting everything on the line every day because that’s what our country told us to do, under conditions that would make a saint afraid to look God in the face, and we were doing our best. I knew there were a few anti-war protests before I left, but I never expected it to be like this…”
― Sabrina Fedel, Leaving Kent State

 

DSC_0159 2DSC_0163 1DSC_0156 2

A Vietcong fighter from the days of yore
A Vietcong fighter from the days of yore
DSC_0094 2
Never again
DSC_0101 2
Recreating the iconic Ho Chi Minh’s gesture
Saigon War Remnant Museum
Lost somewhere in the museum… one of the most enriching moment of my life

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to row the boat.”
(Jean-Paul Sartre)

 

 

 




** HELP ME RUN THIS BLOG! Please note this Disclaimer: In this blog, I use affiliate links at times. I will always tell you and these links are only for items that I use and approve of. If you click an affiliate link and purchase that product or service, I will be paid a small commission but your cost will still remain the same or less. I will always disclose this at the bottom of the post. This money goes towards keeping this site online. Please note : We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.in and affiliated sites. If you found this website helpful, please support it.

21 thoughts on “Never Again: Saigon War Remnant Museum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *