I went walking on the path at Les Gove Park last week for the first time since the new American-Vietnamese War Memorial was put there.
It took my breath away and created great joy in me the moment I saw the flag of the Republic of Vietnam flying boldly in my hometown.
That flag is the symbol of the people and country our military went to support during the war, and it no longer flies in Vietnam because of the communist takeover.
It is amazing to me that as a 26-year-old Army nurse serving at the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi, on the edge of the “Iron Triangle,” where all the fighting was in 1967, that I would become so emotionally invested in the Vietnamese people and that powerful symbol of their flag. I have the people and the country of Vietnam in my heart.
I went back there in 1996 to plant peace trees and had an opportunity to visit Cu Chi. I went to the little church I remembered and was surprised to see a small replica of the flag painted on some wood near the church. I even took a picture of it since it had such meaning for me. Now I have the real thing close to home and can see it anytime I wish.
My walk in the park coincided with a phone call from the chief of surgery of the 12th Evacuation Hospital only days before. He is writing a book about that hospital, and I am flying to Idaho to see a nurse that I served with at that same hospital in 1967.
I am grateful to all from our community who supported this memorial in any way and the mayor and City Council for putting it at Les Gove Park for all to see.
Sarah L. Blum, ARNP, nurse psychotherapist, nurse Vietnam veteran