Friday, June 4, 2010

Vietnam Kid

I often come to this point in the day before I choose what to post and I have nothing in mind. So what I do is let my conscious mind go blank and see what results.


Above my desk is an old photo I took while covering the war in Vietnam in 1968. It is of a little Amer-Asian boy standing behind barbed wire looking off into the distance. He was probably around three or four years of age.

I took the photo while doing a story near Phu Bai in Vietnam. Here’s what some Internet folks remember about Phu Bai. I don’t recall all the statistics.

“Phu Bai was a village in Vietnam that was the location of a large military base.

Phu Bai was the location of Camp Hochmuth. Major General Bruno A. Hochmuth, was a Marine killed in combat just north of Hue.

In 1968 it was the location of PCV HQ, Provisional Corps Vietnam. It later became the HQ of XXIV Corps which was responsible for all of the units in the northern 2 provinces of I Corps Tactical Zone.”

Not too far away, a short jaunt by helicopter, was a small town called Thuy Phu, where this little boy lived. I went to his tiny village to do a story on a project the Marines had initiated.

That night there was chaos and killing in the village.

I don’t know what happened to him. A Marine Captain told the Vietcong attacked the village and killed a number of people. I was not able to get back to the village.

If he is alive today he would be about forty-five or forty-six; the same age as my oldest son. Perhaps that why I took the picture way back then.

I suppose there is a reason I’ve kept the photo displayed on my wall for all these years. I don’t know what it is, except profound sadness and an acknowledgement of the cruelty and futility of war.

1 comment:

Gabi K said...

I happend to klick on the photo...
it went right through into my soul. The boy looks lonely and somehow lost and sad. The kind of look when you want a child just to hug and give it a warm feeling of love.
Just the opposite of war

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