KEEPING WATCH: VETERANS FOR PEACE
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"We had all of the difficult missions," Mr. Kleven recalls. "We blew up bridges and parachuted out of planes. Each patrol was like an individual war."
As we talk in his apartment overlooking the Nhieu Loc Canal in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, it's hard to find any trace of that brazen marine in Kleven today. Two decades after leaving Vietnam on a stretcher with a bullet wound to his back, Kleven returned to the country for good in 1991, making him, he says, the first American to live in Ho Chi Minh City after the war.
"I wanted to make up for what I had done during the war," Kleven says of his English-teaching career. "I now have a second chance to do things right. I have the chance to be a teacher here instead of a soldier."
Kleven is just one of thousands of American veterans who have returned to Vietnam since the end of one of the most divisive conflicts in American history. In the four decades since the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, which brought America's direct military involvement in the war to an end, many former soldiers have journeyed there out of curiosity to see a land and people they once fought or to seek closure for a war that continues to weigh on their minds."
A few hundred other former soldiers, like Kleven, have moved to Vietnam permanently. Some of these veterans are working alongside their former enemies to address the legacies of the war. They remove unexploded bombs and land mines from old battlefields that are now rice paddies.
They raise money for people who have been diagnosed with disabilities or diseases attributed to exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides that were sprayed by the United States during the war. And they act as unofficial ambassadors, promoting reconciliation between Americans and Vietnamese as teachers and tour guides.
Kleven recalls the confusion he felt after coming home from Vietnam in 1967. "I kept asking myself, why did we go? What was behind it? I never knew the history of it. So I was searching for all of those things."
. . .
"We see our role as providing a bridge to Vietnam, a conduit to dialogue," Mr. Muller was quoted by The New York Times as saying after a 1984 meeting with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach. "Our Government will not talk to them. So we do represent the only channel with which to exchange information."
Funny that, the soldier goes to war but does no know why did We go. That is where the betrayal of the soldiers began.
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MARRIAGE IS NOT FOR ME....
Excerpt from Seth Adam Smith : Blogger; Editor-in-chief of ForwardWalking.com
Having been married only a year and a half, I've recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn't for me.
I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old.
The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?
Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.
With a knowing smile he said, "Seth, you're being totally selfish. So I'm going to make this really simple: marriage isn't for you. You don't marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. Marriage is about the person you married."
My father's advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today's "Walmart philosophy", which is if it doesn't make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.
Selfishness demands, "What's in it for me?" while Love asks, "What can I give?"
Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.
But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful -- she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and anguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.
I realized that I had forgotten my dad's advice. While Kim's side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.
To all who are reading this article -- married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette -- I want you to know that marriage isn't for you.
SEE MORE @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-adam-smith/marriage-isnt-for-you_b_4209837.html