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

My Lai Without Tears 50 Years Later

A soft-spoken young girl in a royal blue ao dai is stumbling through a canned English language presentation at the My Lai museum, attesting to the massacre here of local villagers by GIs of the Americal Division, nearly 50 years ago to the day. More accuratelyRead More

A Moment In Hue: Coming of Age in Vietnam

The Saigon Morin Hotel is a touch of time-worn French Colonial splendor in one of Vietnam’s most famous former capital cities, Hue.  We just spent the afternoon touring the ancient Citadel, a formidable seat of religious tradition, royal history, and the site of some of theRead More

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