A Visit through Post-War Vietnam

Whether profiteering or pride, Vietnam can’t get enough of its revolution. Neither can Western tourists.

Day 7, Vietnam Military History Museum, Hanoi, 17 March 2019: The view from the stone fort built in the early 19th century that defended Hanoi from colonial powers. From it, visitors look down on a courtyard of large-scale war souvenirs — tanks, planes and helicopters — captured from the Americans during the Vietnam War (to the Vietnamese, the Second Indochina War). Popular with the Vietnamese and Europeans, this museum, which opened in mid-1950s, did not find favor with Dad for its “over-the-top” perspective on the Vietnamese victory.

Núi Bà Đen. Tây Ninh. Phu-Loi. Củ Chi. These were the names of places I had heard over and over growing up, but had little meaning to me. I knew these villages existed in Vietnam — the country invoked in the 1980s whenever Americans wanted to pontificate about either American patriotism or American…