Day 33: My Lai

Day 33: My Lai

My Lai is located in Southern Vietnam, two and half hours drive from Hoi An. Not many foreigners visit the site, which says a lot about the history of it.

March 16, 1968. Helicopters showed up to the town dropping off armed young men that were taking orders to kill everyone. 9 American helicopters landed three times around the two small villages (Lăng sub-hamlet and Go sub-hamlet). The GIs rushes into the village to kill everyone in their sight. For four hours these GIs were ordered to divide into three groups: to kill, to burn the houses, and to cut the trees and the animals. However, they did more than just that; they slaughtered the kids and raped the women before they killed them. The United States Army justified this act by telling the world they were looking for “targets” to destroy communism. The Charlie Company was told to search and destroy mission, meaning if it is Vietnamese and it moves it is a target.

No one reported this event until late 1969 there were rumors on what happened in My Lai, an reporter went there to investigate, and late November is when the story broke, and the American army was under scandal. Throughout the whole event, there were no American troops arrested. Up until 1969, the idea of winning a war depended on how many troops we used and how many we killed on the other side. The definition was not whether we win brings peace through war or not.

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In the end, only one person was found guilty of a war crime, and that man was not even punished. American history books and classes still do not include this part of the war, more specifically this massacre, we caused on the Vietnamese people. Although there are still people who argue the story is not being told from both sides, it is essential to recognize that war always affects civilians and we have learned from most of the wars our country has participated in.

After a long and emotional museum tour, the team headed to eat an authentic Vietnamese lunch by the beach. We also had a debrief on the ride back to Hoi An, which was very important to hear what everyone thought of the tour and their knowledge of the massacre as well.

The names of 504 Vietnamese men, women and children killed at My Lai
Study Abroad

Samra Gebretsadkan

China/Vietnam 2019