Christmas in Vietnam: 12 Days of Darkness

“The bastards have never been bombed like they’re going to be bombed this time.”                  –President Richard Nixon, 1972   The idealized Christmastime night sky is a star-studded obsidian wonderland, pierced by a gleaming heraldic star of hope peaceRead More

Thank You For Your Service

So what DID you do in the war, Daddy?  This is the time of year that folks say to countless thousands of veterans:  “Thank you for your service.”  I respond, usually, by saying “Thanks for your support”. Frankly, I don’t know exactly what that means. ButRead More

Hanoi Hilton and the Nobility of John McCain

We each have a defining moment in our lives.  For John McCain, there was more than one. You might say my one encounter with the late Senator John McCain (1936-2018) was off-the-wall.  It certainly wasn’t face-to-face. It came at the Hoa Lo Prison Museum in HanoiRead More

The Bourdain Legacy: What We Ate in Vietnam

No mention  of food in Vietnam is complete without a heartfelt nod to the trail blazing of Anthony Bourdain.  I dedicate this post to his memory. As “George Washington Slept Here” signs are the folksy cliche of US inn travel, “Anthony Bourdain Ate Here” designations areRead More

American Women Who Served in Vietnam

Today, Memorial Day, or anytime you salute those who served — in Vietnam and elsewhere — also remember our sisters who went to the field, and some who did not return.   Night-walking The Wall—the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC—was eerie.  Not at all theRead More

30/4: The Fall of Saigon in 1975

Today is just another spring day for most of us. But for Vietnamese, both there and here, April 30 is monumentally significant My friend Oanh in DaNang took her family to the seashore this past weekend for an extended holiday. In Saigon, my fashion-forward friend HangRead More

Children of Vietnam: Souls of a Nation

Look deep into their eyes and you will find hope Everywhere in Vietnam, the children shout “Hallo!”  Toddlers, teens, school children and street kids. On bike baths, from cars, buses and motorbikes. In the restaurants and museums. They see a Westerner and it is a jubilantRead More

The Sad Saga of Fire Base Mary Ann

The Tragic End Note of the Star Crossed 23rd Infantry Americal Division  The morning of March 28, 1971, exactly 47 years ago today, I awoke in my barracks as usual, then took the short walk to my desk at the Americal Division’s Public Information Office. OnlyRead More

Here Come The Brides Vietnam Style

Weddings in Vietnam are filled with indigenous traditions. The groom and his family have a strict protocol to meet the bride in her family’s home, laden with gifts from betel flowers to roast pigs to lacquer boxes filled with jewelry. On her special day, the brideRead More

Vietnam Beaches—Then, Now, Always

  Vietnam was—and will always be—about the beach. Or, is that me? That first day in 1970, coming off the air conditioned jetliner from Guam, the Cam Ranh Bay breeze whacked me like a hot wet towel. But it carried a familiar aroma: briny, pungent. TheRead More

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