So many places drew us away from the breathtaking landscape, the mouth-watering cuisine, and inviting art galleries and toward the American experience in Vietnam. Toward places familiar from books and contemporaneous television news: Red Beach #2 in Danang, where the first U.S. combat troops landed in March, 1965; China Beach, where the GI’s went for R ‘n’ R; Hien Luong Bridge, over the Ben Hai River in Quang Tri Province at the 17th parallel, dividing north Vietnam from south; the head of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and the Vinh Moc tunnels, which the North Vietnamese dug by hand to move people and supplies to their soldiers – tunnels in which they hid by day and from which they emerged at night to fight. The tunnels are a testament to North Vietnam’s ingenuity and included meeting rooms, wells, and health room. Sixty families lived in the Vinh Moc tunnels, and 17 children were born in the narrow, dank interior.

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