Vietnam is A Country, Not A War: US Veteran.

Vietnam has accomplished more towards entering the international community than any of us would have dared hope for just few short years ago. We are confident that the efforts will continue, and are honored to be a part of those efforts.Cohen_mia_2n_2446.jpg

VVAF (Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation) is a member of the coalition, which is working very hard to ensure that the US grants PNTR for Vietnam, and we are encouraged by the support that is being demonstrated in the Congress on this issue. I look to the day in the near future when we can celebrate PNTR status here in Hanoi.

VVAF, an organization founded and currently headed by combat veterans from the war, first returned to Vietnam 25 years ago on a mission of peace and reconciliation. Many such missions followed – including two that I was privileged to be a part of in 1984 leading to the establishment of our office here in 1994.

The message that we carried way back in 1981, which remains the message today, is exactly that which you have asked Vietnam is not a war, it is a country, a very beautiful one indeed, and one with which the US has long had a very special relationship. One has only to reach the Declaration of Independence that Ho Chi Minh read in Hanoi in September 1945 to understand just how long standing and very special the friendship between the two countries.

For those of us who were here during the war, and who have had the opportunity to come back on mission of peace, Vietnam will always be a place and a people that we will think about everyday no matter where we are in the world.

WTO accession will bring with it a substantial increase in investment in Vietnam, not only from the US but from the rest of the world as well. With that investment will come expanded employment and business opportunities for the Vietnamese, a general rise in economic development, and thus a stronger base for the country as a whole – the government, the business community, the international organizations, and the people - to come together in partnership to tackle the many problems which still face Vietnam today.

By Tom Leckinger, Country Manager, VVAF Vietnam
Source: Vietnam – US Magazine. Photo: courtesy of VNA