ShareThis Page

Memories of Vietnam War fade as military chiefs meet

| Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, 6:18 p.m.

HANOI — When the highest-ranking officer in the American military met with his Vietnamese counterpart here on Thursday, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey's motorcade passed a used-car lot's worth of captured American military hardware.

Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also was chauffeured past the infamous Hanoi Hilton, the prison where U.S. prisoners of war, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were abused.

If Dempsey noticed these end zone dances, he did not show it. And maybe that's because the Vietnamese seem to pay about as much attention to them as he did. They are relics of a bygone era, falling from fashion as the economy roars to life here and newer generations consider the war a textbook lesson, not living history.

“It needs to come up at every conversation,” Dempsey said. “But it doesn't dominate.”

Indeed, the ongoing thaw in relations between the two formerly warring countries explains that in part. Watching Dempsey and his counterpart, Gen. Do Ba Ty, the chief of General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, listen while the People's Army band played the national anthems of each country, you forget for a moment that they were on opposite sides of the war that claimed 58,000 American lives and multiples more on the Vietnamese side.

The old soldiers seem far more interested in teaming up to deal with China than rehashing an old conflict.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me