Saturday, March 21, 2009

Old Soldiers Remember

The American War and the memories of that conflict are fading here in Vietnam, where half the population is under thirty. But for veterans on both sides, those memories are close to the surface and often old allies and enemies meet. Telling their stories is healing and a miraculous bonding exists almost instantaneously.

As we explored a war memorial on our return from a humanitarian project in Que Son, an old man approached us. He had seen us from a distance, where he was labouring with others behind picks and shovels. He knew that Bruce and Stan were the right vintage and stature and he had something that he knew would be a significant gift.

He had in his possession a US Marine Corps dog tag. The asking price was the princely sum of one dollar. Bruce knew immediately that the tag was legitimate, not a reproduction made to sell to tourists. And so, Tours of Peace will receive another personal effect which will, following some careful research be returned to its owner or the marine's surviving family.

The handshakes and smiles said just one thing " Our losses bind us...we are brothers"

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