I feel that I should stop and "introduce my band." Brian, Karyn, Amy and Bill...you are my regular back-up, and my Grandma Willis says that she enjoys the comments just as much as the blog itself, so you have just received a compliment from a 92 year-old. Many people write and confess their intimidation with my witty commenters...they just can't bring themselves to compete.
When my brother, especially, doesn't post a comment for a few days, I lose my will to post anything and told him last night that I may go on strike because he was three posts behind. He went on and on about being busy or something totally unrelated to me.
OK, so, instead of me telling people about the four of you, you all have to tell about yourselves: who you are, what you do, and how you got wrapped up in my blog (and me). OK, go.
And a few follow-ups:
My Uncle Rex did not build the road in the picture (see the "Charlie Chaplin Peace, then War" post. He built roads on the base and through the jungle for military use. Also, he asked me if I saw the six foot tall ant hills at Cu Chi...evidently, the VC had tunnels going to some of them and that is where the shots came from that were killing so many GI's. I did not see the ant hills.
And this is from an email my condo neighbor, Jane, sent. She was in Vietnam a few years ago (shared with permission):
"I remember well the Coa Dai temple! Wacky is the best word to describe it! And I bet Victor Hugo would be amazed to know he is a god.
I remember well when the picture of the girl running from the napalm was first published, but I never knew she was running from the Coa Dai temple. The napalm blast blew her cothes off, and her back was on fire. She had many surgeries to treat the burns and scaring. She's a doctor now - got her degree in Cuba. The picture was one of half a dozen that appalled the nation. So many people thought war was glamorous, and that awful picture was part of Americans learning what war is really about. And then we blamed the soldiers! Crazy - they didn't declare the "conflict," they were soldiers doing what soldiers always have done... And kids have always been hurt. To make things worse, the communists often used kids as unknowing suicide bombers. Little kids would be given a bunch of flower or some such to give to American soldiers, and insde would be a detonated hand grenade. Both the kid and the American soldier would be blown up. So soldiers learned to be suspicious of kids and often shot first. But we in American had a vision of American goodness doing good around the world. Because of the Viet Nam conflict, Americans learned we're not the saviors of the world and we're not all good. That's why I went to Viet Nam - I wanted to see where America lost her idealism about herself..."
...Cu Chi was one of the most important parts of my trip. I did go into the enlarged part of the tunnel but had to leave early because of the lack of oxygen. The American government never realized how totally dedicated the Viet Namese people were to rid their country of invaders. Go to the National History Museum by (or in) the zoo. It's a history of centuries of trying to get invaders out of Viet Nam - Chinese, French, and Americans. The communit army was totally dedicated, and we were half assed muddling around. My tour guide was very different than yours - he was very proud of what the communist army accomplished, the cleverness of the booby traps, etc.
Thank you, everyone. I am off to the Mekong Delta this weekend, so I will see you in a few days!