Same River, Different Water: A Veteran's Journey from Vietnam to Viet Nam

Same River, Different Water: A Veteran's Journey from Vietnam to Viet Nam

by Douglas Young


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Despite it being almost forty years since American troops left Vietnam, the American people still regard Vietnam as a war, not a country. "Same River, Different Water" is not about your grandfather's war but about the thriving country of today. It is the true story of a two-tour, wounded combat veteran and his wife, a former Army nurse, who met in Vietnam during the war and returned to live in the city of Hue in 2005-06. The memoir connects the past with the present, amply supported by the author's photographs.History professors' bookshelves are filled with political and military tomes about the war, but few of them examine the impact of the war on Viet Nam's present culture. It is a positive look at the present, punctuated with glances into the past and filled with observations of the present-day Vietnamese culture. Its appeal is to anyone of the Vietnam War generation, whether they served, waited at home or participated in protests. This book answers the question "What happened to the people and country that caused so much angst in the 60s and 70s?" It is an antidote for curious or embittered veterans who believe the Vietnamese hate us. It is an update for those whose mental image is of an impoverished country. It is for academics who wish to have their students gain an insight into modern Southeast Asia. It is travelers looking for a different place to go."Same River, Different Water" includes the words Viet Nam and Vietnam - one when referring to the country, the other when referring to the war. The first chapter opens with the negative reaction the author received from many Vietnam vets when hearing he was going to live in Viet Nam. The new country, with its skyscrapers in Saigon, absence of poverty and energetic people is juxtapositioned with memories of flares in the night sky, noisy truck convoys and the brutal poverty seen during the war. Memories are connected to the present as the two returning veterans recall the beginning of their romance of forty years. "Same River, Different Water" goes deeper - it leaves the war behind and examines the challenges of living and working in a very different culture. The chapter "Don't They Hate Us?" includes the recounting of lunch at a student's home and discovering that her father had been a Viet Cong fighter. The book refutes the common feeling among Americans that the Vietnamese hate us and leaves the reader with a realization that today's Viet Nam is a robust and growing country. "Same River, Different Water" is a must for anyone who wants a complete view of Viet Nam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467906920
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/04/2012
Pages: 190
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.49(d)

About the Author

Douglas Young spent his youth fighting a war in Vietnam. Educated at Florida Southern College, Young accepted a commission as an infantry officer, serving two different tours of duty; the first in 1966-677 with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, the second in 1969-70 with the 1st Cavalry Division. After meeting the love of his life at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam, Doug married the former Lieutenant Cynthia Mason in 1971.

Never one to stay settled, Young started his post-army life as a police officer in Atlanta, Georgia, including a four-year stint as a homicide detective. An accomplished pistol shooter, Young moved on to teach firearms at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center near Brunswick, Georgia. Loving the challenge of starting something new, he and Cindy moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he worked at a training academy for the U. S. Department of Energy. He found time to earn his Master's degree in Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of New Mexico, and then moved to a new job as a distance learning coordinator for a consortium of colleges and universities in Texas. Once again, the call of the new and different moved him to accept a position at the University of Texas Pan American in south Texas, retiring in 2004 as the Director of the Center for Distance Learning.

Young retired earlier than most people, but only so he could continue with his passion. A return trip to Viet Nam in 2002 sparked a latent interest. A dream was born and the two moved to Viet Nam where they taught English at the University of Hue in 2005-06.

Wanting to see the young minds they had taught get the best education possible, Cindy and Doug have assisted Vietnamese students in coming to the United States for graduate work. An ardent photographer, Doug works as a freelance sports and features photojournalist for the Progress Times newspaper in Mission, Texas. Cindy and Doug are practicing, believing Christians who worship in the Episcopalian tradition at St. Peter and St. Paul church, also in Mission, Texas.

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