Thursday, December 14, 2006

Captain Nguyen Dinh Bao: He Who Stayed in Charlie

Captain Nguyen Dinh Bao: He Who Stayed in Charlie
Lately I've been pondering about the Vietnam War, or what some Vietnamese refer to as the American War. My knowledge of the war consists of what I've been told, what I read, and what I saw in movies, and what I heard through songs.

Kon Tum and Pleiku are places we heard in reference to the Vietnam war. Fierce battles took place there, including the one on Charlie Hill where a South Vietnamese commander famously died. There is a popular Vietnamese song written about this battle: Nguoi o lai Charlie -- Those Who Stayed in Charlie.

My view of the war is very different from that of my parents who lived through the war. My father was a officer in South Vietnamese Navy. I often see the war as an unnecessary tragedy. My parents see the war as a fight between good and evil.

One thing we agree: "Nguoi O Lai Charlie" is a great song from that era. I like its campy propaganda and how pop music is used to sell the war. The song is a reminder for me that war is always a bad idea.


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