After completing my residency training as a urologist I was obligated to serve two years of military duty. It was 1972 and the war in Vietnam was escalating. My family was relieved when I was sent to a stateside hospital to provide care for active duty and retired personnel. Many of my fellow trainees were sent to Vietnam. The war was a contentious subject at home in the U.S. with college campus demonstrations, street riots, and draft age young men fleeing the country to avoid service. Unlike World War II where the servicemen were considered heroes, military uniforms at this time often attracted scorn. It took forty years until I was able to travel to Vietnam to learn how the Vietnamese felt about what they call the “American War”. When I met some former Viet Cong servicemen, they told me, “we did what our government told us to do and you did the same. We are happy to have Americans here and to be friends”.
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