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Revisiting Vietnam

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Twenty-five years after Americans withdrew from Saigon, the war in Vietnam is fading into history -- even as it continues to shape the lives of Americans and Vietnamese alike. What is the legacy, what are the myths and what are the realities of the Vietnam War?

April 30, 2000: War's end celebrated
Today, Vietnam celebrates the end of the Vietnam War in the Southern capital of Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) that it captured. audio button There will be parades and festivities and 25th anniversary reunions by U.S. media that covered the traumatic end of the war. Listen as NPR's Rob Gifford reports.

April 30, 2000: Hue: Profile of the Once Beleaguered Imperial City
Set on the Perfume River, the gentle capital of Vietnamese Emperors past was savaged during the Tet offensive of 1968. First the Vietcong overan the city and took many pro South Vietnamese civilians into the hills to execute. Then the city's Imperial Citadel was all but destroyed in a counter-attack by U.S. Marines who came in disloge the guerrillas. audio button Today, 25 years, after the city finally fell to North Vietnamese troops moving south on Saigon, the war is but a memory. Listen as NPR's Eric Weiner reports.

April 29, 2000: China Beach
The American R & R center out of Danang during the war is remembered with fondness by GI's who rested or recuperated there during the war -- and by those who saw the later TV series of the same name. audio button Twenty-five years after the end of the war, it now is the focus of Vietnam's budding tourist industry. A postcard by Eric Weiner.

April 28, 2000: Manicurists
The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, with Laura Folger present a sonic montage that allows Vietnamese immigrant women to tell about their in the San Francisco area. We hear how the pop music of America trickled into their lives while they were still in their homeland, and how that formed part of there sense of what America would be One woman heard what she called California Dreaming --(it was really If You're Going to San Francisco) -- and she wanted to be there with "flowers in my hair" We present voices of Vietnamese immigrants in an impressionist manner without narration and mixed with the sound of an English-language instruction tape for Vietnamese speakers that comments on the mood. We also hear the music and sounds that shape these women's lives. audio buttonPart two of the Kitchen Sisters' sonic montage of Vietnamese immigrant women telling about their experiences in coming to the United States.

April 28, 2000: Vietnam's Economy
Vietnam's leaders have been keeping their society in tight control since the country was re-united under a Marxist government twenty-five years ago. audio buttonCorrespondent Daniel Zwerdling reports for NPR News and for American RadioWorks on how Vietnam's entry into the world economy is starting to effect restrictions on free speech, and how social drugs and prostitution...are on the rise.

April 27, 2000: U.S. Returns to Vietnam
The last American GIs left Vietnam on helicopters from Ton Son Nhut airport 25 years ago next Sunday, April 30. audio button But some Vietnam vets have returned out of nostalgia or a sense of mission to do something constructive there to atone for their past. Listen as NPR's Eric Weiner reports.

April 24, 2000: Return of the Boat People
When the Vietnam War came to an end 25 years ago, the big story was the boat people that sought for years to flee communism to the West. Today some of the those boat people and their foreign born children have begun to return. audio button And though life is not easy for them, they are making an impact. Listen as NPR's Eric Weiner reports.

April 24, 2000: A Tale of Two Cities
Listen as NPR's Eric Weiner compares the country's two largest cities, Hanoi in the North and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon in the South. audio button Twenty-five years after the reunification of North and South Vietnam the culture of the two cities are poles apart.

April 23, 2000: The Vietnam Farm
Vietnam remains one of the few Communist nations in the world, nearly 25 years after the war. However, staggering poverty has prompted Vietnam's leaders to experiment with private enterprise. Correspondent Daniel audio button Zwerdling filed this report from a farming village where the changes in the economy are affecting daily life.

April 22, 2000: Anti-Vietnam Protests Revisited
Sandy Tolan reports on the legacy of anti-Vietnam War protests. As the war ended twenty-five years ago, anti-war activists claimed audio button responsibility for turning American public opinion against the war. Now some scholars question the impact of the protest movement.

April 21, 2000: Vietnam Folk Songs:
NPR's Alex Chadwick reports on folk tunes recorded by American servicemen during the Vietnam War. Based on traditional folk tunes, thousands of songs were given new words by servicemen and women. The soldiers used the songs partly to entertain each other and partly to describe their wartime experiences. audio button Lydia Fish of Buffalo State University obtained recordings of these songs and calls them the "informal record of a war."

April 21, 2000: The Vietnam Tapes of Lance Corporal Michael A. Baronowski
Lost & Found Sound producers Christina Egloff and Jay Allison share a cache of old reel-to-reel tapes that recreates audio button the war as experienced by a young marine from Norristown, Pennsylvania, who was killed in action on November 26, 1966.

April 20, 2000: Vietnam on Screen
April 30th is the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. John Biewen reports on how Vietnam has been documented and re-interpreted since its ending. Movies have depicted Vietnam Vets as violently unbalanced, vengeful, chemically addicted, or button but the truth is radically different. Popular culture has also forgotten than a majority of G.I.'s who served in the second half of the war shared the same opinion about Vietnam as the anti-war protestors did.

April 20, 2000: Vietnam Reconciliation
NPR's Daniel Zerdling reports from Vietnam that 25 years after the end of the war, North and South Vietnam are still struggling with reconciliation. Peace has transformed the unified Vietnam. And the people of Vietnam have in some ways forgiven their old foes, the Americans. audio buttonBut the scars of the past do still linger. As Zwerdling reports, the biggest challenge in the country's reconciliation -- with its past, and with its old enemies -- is an internal struggle. Vietnam's economy is showing some new signs of promise, but the government is still Communist.

April 17, 2000: Vietnamese MIAs
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reports on the families of some three hundred thousand Vietnamese soldiers missing in action during the Viet Nam button Some are going to great and mystical lengths to locate remains of their loved ones.

April 16, 2000: Agent Orange
Daniel Zwerdling reports from Vietnam on the aftereffects of Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. audio buttonmilitary sprayed the herbicide over thousands of square miles of jungle areas. American veterans have claimed for years that they suffered from illness caused by exposure to agent orange. Zwerdling examines how the spraying has affected the Vietnamese people.

Vietnam Online Scrapbook
Those who remember the Vietnam War and those who live in its shadow are invited to share their personal stories in an online Vietnam Scrapbook. Beginning April 14, the public is invited to submit personal stories, poetry or observations about how the war changed their life.

Revisiting Vietnam Chats
An online chat, scheduled April 28, will focus on the Vietnam War itself and life and relationships in Vietnam today.

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