(English Language and Literature)
“May Peace Prevail on Earth.” This statement is located on the first floor of War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The moment I saw this phrase, pathetic emotions filled up my heart. “Peace.” It is what our global village aims for. What I encountered in the War Remnants Museum was the consequence of the violation of peace and what we as a global citizen should do to protect this crucial value.
War Remnants Museum was constructed to commemorate the Vietnam War that the Vietnamese defeated the US army. The reason why America suddenly started the war is because America, who believed democracy was the best, wanted to resist Vietnam totally becoming Communist. To show people what the war was like, War Remnants Museum is constituted with indoor and outdoor of the main building: exhibition of photos and preserved weapons inside the building and depiction of the prison regime in the war outside was so lively that I could vividly imagine happenings and how much they suffered.
The first floor of the building was about the international support for Vietnam in its resistance in the war caused by the US. Many citizens from other countries protested wildly about the unfair war since people thought it was not right to violate Vietnam’s freedom of political expression. Canadians, Mexicans, citizens from Buenos Ares, and even America spoke out. From the protestants active actions, I truly felt ordinary people like us should always stand up and raise our voice to correct what is wrong and make a magnificent change.
The second floor was about the inhumanity of war. Americans not only used lethal weapons to cause casualties but also used toxic chemicals to destroy the livelihood of the Vietnamese in order to prevent the advance of the revolutionary armed forces. Americans sprayed about 80 million liters of toxic chemicals over nearly 26,000 villages, with an area of 3.06 million hectares, nearly a quarter of the total area of South Vietnam. The US army didn’t treat Vietnamese people as the equal beings. They killed and tortured the Vietnamese, even civilians. During the Vietnam War, 3 million Vietnamese were killed, 2 million being civilians. 2 million people were injured, and 300,000 people were missing. The pictures demonstrated how the people were brutally murdered. The pictures were so vivid that I felt terrible and so sad for them that they had to suffer from all those pains.
The third floor was about the after-effects of the war in Vietnam. Because of the toxic materials the American army used, the people were injured seriously and many disabilities were inherited to newborns. The Vietnamese people had to overcome so many difficulties to recover from the war and begin a new life. Upon seeing the pictures, I realized how terrible the war was and wished war would never happen again. It is tremendously painful both during and after war to a country.
After looking all around the museum, I felt that Vietnam had experienced looks so alike with what Korea had gone through. North and South were also divided because of the difference of ideology: North - communism and South - democracy. Then the powerful communist country, Soviet Union intervened in North Korea and the powerful democratic country, America intervened in South Korea. Then, we were divided by the 38th parallel border as Soviet Union and America had decided by themselves. As we have seen how terrible it is when war occurs, I wish every global citizen to be aware of the value of peace and victims of war never to be made again. Miserable situation must not happen in the world anymore, including Korea. May Peace come to the Korean peninsula.
Park Se-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org