Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Talent Show and Vietnam Day

I swear we do go to class and study on this trip too!  It just happens that we had a lot of exciting things going on on the ship lately that I would rather report on.  haha

The day after Sea Olympics was the SAS Talent Show.  After the awesome job people did with the lip sync competition, I had high expectations and they were definitely met!  I can't believe that people can be so darn talented!  We had singing, dancing, acting, instrument playing, and some things that were a little hard to classify to be honest.  

The life long learners sang SAS's theme song which is actually quite moving.  My ship parents are the couple on the left.  :0)

The dependent children know how to boggie!

Remember this kid because he is going to win an Oscar someday.

My awesome global studies discussion leader jamming on an instrument from India.  

The ASL club signing "Wavin' Flag."  ( I'm in the club too, but missed the meeting when we learned the song.)
The SAStreet boys.
Complete with their own fan girls.  haha  

Performing the Firefly theme song!

My talent was dressing like a goof with my roomie.  Ok, not really.  We had a fire drill that day too.  :0P  They said that we had to wear hats so I wore my awesome jungle had since I don't have a normal baseball cap.  

The next day the fun continued with Vietnam Day.  There were presentations going on all day which were very interesting!  All of them had to do with the Vietnam - American War from different perspectives.  The first speaker talked about the history of the war as well as the history that led up to the war.  It was sad to learn about because the whole conflict was based on really stupid decisions going back decades.  The war caused so many individual tragedies that we have to lop them together in the form of statistics.  The land was bombed and sprayed with chemicals, people were killed in their home country, soldiers were killed far from home, and the U.S. was torn apart in it's efforts to come to grips with what was happening.  The only silver lining is that some people did learn some things from the disaster.  Now we would never see the anti-soldier sentiments that were popular back then.  Even among those who protest current military action the most, the sentiment has changed to be, "hate the war not the soldier."   There has also been an increased consciousness of the environment after chemicals did so much damage to the land and people in Vietnam.   None of these positive effects are enough to make what happens ok.  Many in both countries still suffer each day from the physical, emotional, or economic damages during the war.  

The next speakers were people on the front lines of the home and war fronts, Senator Charles Robb and Lynda Bird Johnson Robb.  (That would be former senator of Virginia and LBJ's daughter, by the way.  Aside from all that they are also really wonderful and interesting people.)  Senator Robb opened up the talk with, "To them [meaning most of the U.S.] Vietnam was a war...but for us it was a country."  I thought that was extremely relevant to us on the SAS voyage.  Our whole lives we have only heard about Vietnam in relation to the war.  Soon, we will get to see the country and start thinking about Vietnam as a place, not a tragedy.  

Senator. and Mrs. Robb were excellent speakers, very funny and candid.  Senator. Robb talked about his time in the military where he led a company in Vietnam.  His stories were exciting and sometimes very sad.  Of one young man in his company, he said, "the only thing we could send back to his family was a boot with a foot in it."  I can't even imagine.  Some of the Vietnam Veterans who spoke later said they were really proud of Senator Robb  because he could have easily avoided combat due to the fact that he had recently married the President's daughter.  But he chose combat even though there were posters all over his area offering a reward for his capture.  

Mrs. Lynda Robb talked about her experience on the home front.  LBJ gets a lot of bad vibes for his part in the Vietnam War, but those who really knew him (or read his biography) would say that he hated the war more than anyone.  He had these huge hopes for a "great society" and the war went against what he believed in.   'Mrs. Robb talked about how awful it was to see her father work so hard to end the war, worry about her new husband who was fighting there, and have people standing outside her window shouting, "hey hey, LBJ, how many boys will you kill today."   

The talk ended on al lighter note with them talking about family jokes and their excitement to visit Vietnam.  I believe the final picture that was up on the screen was the first picture taken of earth from space.  LBJ did a lot to start up NASA so this was in part his success.  He had sent the photo to all the heads of state and had received a reply from Ho Chi Mihn.  It was the first communication between the two countries since tensions started before the war.  

After a lunch break, Don Howard, a Vietnam War Veteran spoke about his experiences.  He said he was lucky to get into the air force after he was drafted and flew transport planes in Vietnam.  His missions included hauling anything from wounded soldiers to food rations.  He was very humble and frank about his experiences.  Though he didn't engage in combat directly, he says that he feels responsible for thousands of deaths that the bullets or bombs he transported caused.  He thinks that anyone who is involved in a war is equally responsible for the damage and should act that way.  He wishes everyone over 18 could be drafted so more people would care and the country would go to war less frequently.  Hard to argue with that!  He concluded the talk with what he learned from his experience in Vietnam.  The things that stood out to me were no one is invincible, no one wins a war, honor the warriors not the war, and that you should never listen when someone tells you the war will be over in just a few months - it is never over that quickly.  

The final panel of speakers were three students who were either from Vietnam or were Vietnamese-Americans.  They talked about the struggles their parents had to go through because of the war and how it still effects them today.  I thought it was really brave of them to put themselves out there and speak about such an emotional topic.  Most of them said that they didn't always know about the war directly growing up, but looking back, they realize that some of the things their family went through was because of the war.  They talked of separated family members, jailing for trying to leave Vietnam, and lost fortunes.  In so many ways, none of us in the room will ever understand the true impact the war had on their families and how it still impacts them today.  


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