The War Remnants Museum is in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, Vietnam. It was created to expose the war crimes of French and American soldiers during the American War in Vietnam. The museum houses an impressive collection of photographs and war memorabilia from the 1960s and 1970s. It brings to the forefront atrocities committed by the U.S.A. that are never talked about in the States, for instance their use of “Agent Orange” which was spread across the countryside. This museum was eye-opening and definitely worth a visit. Just don’t expect to have a good time or leave in good spirits.
The first floor inside showcases a lot of communist propaganda and news articles of people protesting the war all over the world. There is also a gift shop inside selling Vietnam War memorabilia. Outside there is a large area with collections of tanks, helicopters, bombs, and trucks. There’s also an area recreating different war prisons and showing the range of torture methods used during the war. There are also a few small shops selling a range of things from army helmets to military fatigue patches. This outside area is probably the least depressing area in the museum, since it lacks pictures of destruction or mutilated bodies.
The second floor of the War Remnants Museum has a gallery of photos of French and American soldiers and the war crimes that they committed. These crimes ranged from killing every man, woman, and child in small villages to gassing the countryside with Agent Orange. These chemicals were produced by Monsanto and Dupont in the United States and were spread across 3,100,000 hectares of the Vietnamese countryside. The supposed goal of this was to decrease vegetation for the Viet Cong to hide under. However, the consequences were far more ghastly. The chemical is nearly impossible to remove from the soil which makes reforestation nearly impossible.
A sculpture of a Vietnamese Mother made from melted shrapnel
Agent Orange and similar chemicals spread across Vietnam infected approximately 4 million Vietnamese people. People exposed experienced extreme rates of cancer, nerve, skin, and respiratory disorders. The chemical also alters your genes which causes defects to occur in your offspring. Children born from infected parents have high risk of cleft palates, hernias, mental disabilities, along with extra limbs, fingers, and/or toes. The pictures in the War Remnants Museum were hard to look at and at some point it was too much. We both left with tears in our eyes, passing a man playing a keyboard for tips, born without eyes as the result of his parents’ exposure to the hellish chemicals.
Our country failed so miserably to live up to “these truths” in our treatment of the Vietnamese.
It took us a few hours to reflect on what we saw in the War Remnants Museum. Our eyes were opened to a hell that we didn’t believe was possible in the world. We knew that the destruction of the Vietnam War was vast, but the truth of the extent was far more evil than we could have imagined. The view of the war which is shown to the general public of the United States is definitely a biased one. Few of the pictures of these atrocities ever reached across the ocean, and stories of the use of chemical weapons were hidden even deeper from public view. We just hope that by reminding people about the facts of the past, we can better prevent such horrors in wars in the future.
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