by McKenzie Buller
A few of us celebrated the 4th of July by biking 20 minutes to a beach and spending an hour or two enjoying the beautiful Hoi An. For dinner we did the most American thing possible and stuffed our faces with burgers, fries, and pizza. Although it was true American celebration in the later part of our day, we spent the majority of our morning in My Son Valley, viewing the remains of a Hindu temple. Many of the structures were at least 800 years old, with heavy symbolism that depicted the different male and female roles within Hinduism. Much of the complex renovation was funded by India’s government, and our visit concluded with a performance by both musicians and dancers that gave us insight to the duel culture of Vietnamese traditional dance and Hinduism. One of the more difficult parts of the visit was walking down a beautiful path with lush greenery and being told by our guide, “Do not step outside the path, there may still be a landmine.” A few moments later we came across a huge crater left by a bomb, and the saddest part was that it was inches from one of the temples. We saw many remains of structures and various temples that were demolished by weapons of war. One thing that has really become evident during our time in Vietnam is the lack of education we have on the Vietnam War. As a history major, I’m really surprised how little I’ve learned about the war in comparison to the severity of the events that occurred. It made for somewhat of a melancholy Independence Day as an American, and raised some concerns as to what exactly it is we are fighting for.