Vung Tau, Vietnam War, Folk Songs…and Me!

SIGH…………..!  I FEEL LIKE A NUT CASE!  CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO WHAT I WANT ON THIS BLOG!  When Will I Ever Learn?  When Will I Ever Learn?!

BUT…today I’ve returned to my blog to TRY again!  I really DO wanna DO this!  I get lost in the mechanics of it still. Just a disorganized mess so far.  Don’t understand the “how to’s”.  My eyes flit over the screen not seeing the instructions clearly.  Not understanding.

Then I think of the more Poignant Stuff of life.  I wax philosophical when I can’t think of what else or how else to do something…anything.  But not without meaning.

Just back from Vung Tau. Today a quiet scenic peninsula lined with rocky beaches and sunshine and clouds that tower in the Wild Blue. A gentle place with humid days and cool evenings. Remnants of the French who favored this short drive from Saigon to the Sea.  They called it Cap St. Jacques back then.  It still feels a little French.  But mostly it’s a mishmash of contemporary Vietnamese hotel architecture that’s Pretty  Bad.  Some newer modes are hitting some grace notes.  Especially some of the homes of the Viet Nouveau Riche.  Nevermind the Good Bad and Ugly. It’s a Beautiful Place.  A Catch Your Breath Place.  Listen to the South China Sea Sing Place!

Vung Tau.  The setting of the final DAY of retreat and escape for the Last Americans left in Saigon.  April 30, 1975.  For Frightened Vietnamese who had to GET OUT for fear of their lives.  They were the ones who had “collaborated” with the ENEMY.  Only America held hope.  But only a very few could climb that ladder into the hovering helicopters over the roof of the American Embassy.  Dozens of helicopters.  Looping 100 km to Vung Tau and the waiting Navy Ships of the USA…then back again.  Freedom. No more fuel.  Some crashing into the sea.  Some landing.  Vung Tau burning.  It wasn’t quiet then.  Then no one thought of the Sounds of the Surf.  Of the Craggy Cliffs.  Of the Gorgeous Green.  Only Desolation…Desperation…and Deliverance!

Wikipedia says:  (On April 29 and 30, 1975) Marine pilots accumulated 1,054 flight hours and flew 682 sorties (from Saigon to Vung Tau) throughout Operation Frequent Wind (the evacuation program), evacuating 5,000 from Tan Son Nhut (Saigon International Airport) and 978 U.S. and 1,120 Vietnamese and third-country nationals from the Embassy.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Embassy,_Saigon

Saigon liberated?  Saigon fallen?  Who knew?

Vung Tau is one place where marines and soldiers sometime return for catharsis. Freedom.  From the Devil of Memory.  The Trauma That Won’t Go Away.  Nobody knew about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome back then.  Nobody knew another 100,000 plus Vietnam Vets would end their own lives to end their Dueling with their Demons in the next few years.

Can this be true?  Really?  Who can know for sure.  There are some hard cold facts.  Read them here on Wikipedia.

Pete Seeger wasn’t far off when he penned and performed WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE.   Many of those who died never did get flowers.  No one knows their graves.  No flowers to honor the Final Resting Place of the Fallen.  Sad.

Two million Vietnamese fell.  Thousands of Americans…and Allies fell.  When Will We Ever Learn?

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE 
performed by Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger here

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

©1961 (Renewed) Fall River Music Inc
All Rights Reserved.

And still they fall.  When Will We Ever Learn?

I can’t seem to learn how to post like I want to. But it doesn’t REALLY matter.

Seems so much more important to see LIFE in some kind of Peace…HARMONY.  Some kind of music that sings a song of hope and joy.  Yet not forgetting the dirge that still continues.  Maybe a bit like Pete Seeger.  He still advocates for Peace…the way he sees it.  And he’s been at it a long time.  He’s 93.   (Pete Seeger is here on Wikipedia)

When Will (I) We Ever Learn?

Gallows Humor once said, “The only thing man learns from history is that man doesn’t learn from history”.

I still prefer think to think the World’s a Good Place.  And getting better.  In Some Ways.

 

                     A little more about Pete Seeger and the Vietnam War… according to Wikipedia:  

Vietnam War era

A longstanding opponent of the arms race and of the Vietnam War, Seeger satirically attacked then-President Lyndon Johnson with his 1966 recording, on the album Dangerous Songs!?, of Len Chandler‘s children’s song, “Beans in My Ears“. Beyond Chandler’s lyrics, Seeger said that “Mrs. Jay’s little son Alby” had “beans in his ears,” which, as the lyrics imply,[57] ensures that a person does not hear what is said to them. To those opposed to continuing the Vietnam War, the phrase implied that “Alby Jay” was a loose pronunciation of Johnson’s nickname “LBJ,” and sarcastically suggested “that must explain why he doesn’t respond to the protests against his war policies.”[citation needed]

Seeger attracted wider attention starting in 1967 with his song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy“, about a captain—referred to in the lyrics as “the big fool”—who drowned while leading a platoon on maneuvers in Louisiana during World War II. In the face of arguments with the management of CBS about whether the song’s political weight was in keeping with the usually light-hearted entertainment of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the final lines were “Every time I read the paper/those old feelings come on/We are waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on.” The lyrics could be interpreted as an allegory of Johnson as the “big fool” and the Vietnam War as the foreseeable danger. Although the performance was cut from the September 1967 show,[58] after wide publicity[59] it was broadcast when Seeger appeared again on the Smothers’ Brothers show in the following January.[60]

Inspired by Woody Guthrie, whose guitar was labeled “This machine kills fascists”,photo Seeger’s banjo was emblazoned with the motto “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender.”photo

In the documentary film The Power of Song, Seeger mentions that he and his family visited North Vietnam in 1972.


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