The legacy of war in South-East Asia has been unavoidable for those left to deal with the aftermath of several years of turmoil in Vietnam. And, for those visiting the country, it’s important to understand and respect this turbulent time in Vietnam’s history in order to fully understand the country. The best stories are the ones told by those who witnessed events first-hand, which is why Saigon’s War Remnants Museum is a powerful and somber reminder of the lasting effects of conflict.
The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City shows just how costly the war was. The museum is mostly for tourists – you’re not going to find many locals here and you can’t really blame them, as civilians in the area don’t like to be reminded of the war.
Stepping inside the museum, the setting doesn’t scream out “victory,” instead, it tells the story of a victim.
The museum’s courtyard offers a stark reminder of American occupation, with a display of captured Chinook helicopters, F-111 fighter jets and tanks. You’ll also find exhibits displaying some of the horrendous conditions POW’s were forced to endure under captivity.
The museum’s floor plan is easy to navigate, with different rooms themed around key events and themes of the war. Learn about the legacy of the war, including the devastating effects of Agent Orange and other atrocities, and immerse yourself in the history behind the conflict.
You can also see an extensive of American equipment and uniforms salvaged from the battlefield, as well as a photo gallery featuring iconic shots from some of the world’s most revered war photographers.
Whilst government involvement has led many to brand the War Remnants Museum as a one sided story, you can also argue that some of the acts and atrocities committed throughout the American occupation warrant a narrative defined by the occupied country.
Wherever your opinion lies, Ho Chi Minh’s War Remnants Museum is still one of the best showcases of modern Vietnamese history – and an essential, although somber, part of the Saigon experience.
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