These are the names of the 504 innocent Vietnamese villagers that were massacred by American GIs. Whole families were killed on March 3, 1968 when American soldiers were given the order to shoot anything that moved, including elderly people, pregnant women, mothers and fathers and 104 children.
This past weekend we visited My Lai, where a museum, memorial, and reconstructed village now lay. The atmosphere of the museum was solemn. Walking up to the steps we were invited to come watch a short documentary about the massacre. Tears built up in my eyes with the images of the dead and the stories of horror from the few that survived. When the film was over a guide led up up steps where we were confronted with this wall. The room was silent as we gazed at the hundreds of names. Our guide told us the significance of this wall, of the innocent people attached to the names. We walked around the museum and listened… My emotions were everywhere. I was in disbelief that American “heroes” could do such a thing. I tried to imagine what it must have been like. To be awakened early in the morning by screams and gunshots.
Then I tried to put myself in the Charlie Companies’ boots. If I was commanded to kill, could I? I’d better just stay far away from any military, because my conscious would be severely compromised. If God commanded me to kill could I? Oh gosh, I do not want to think about this- Abraham had greater faith than I.
In the middle of our tour, our guide mentioned one American Helicopter Pilot who was not apart of the Charlie Company, who saw nine innocents running away from the horror at My Lai. … He did not shoot them… he tried to help them. He was the real American Hero.
After exiting the museum, we walked
through the town. There were recreated
footprints and boot prints going every
which way. The was the ditch
where hundreds were thrown in and shot.
Everyone was solem.
My Lai is a horrific example of what people can do in war. As we continue to learn about it, the Vietnam War seems to be a war ignorance rather than a war for justice. – Alex