Imagine if the deputy PM in Japan visited Pearl Harbor, then laid down flowers for all the Japanese pilots died in 1941. (Juliet Huang)
I can’t help feeling a bit nauseous and angry whenever I see this, the second time in two months this summer. First, it was US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who paid a visit to Hanoi last month, including laying a bouquet of flowers near Trúc Bạch Lake, which John McCain parachuted into on October 26, 1967.
Here’s a C-SPAN video version if you dare. Harris said, He was an extraordinary American. A hero…he loved our country. He was so courageous and really lived the life of a hero…always fought for the best of who we are. And here’s a spot-on comment in response to the C-SPAN video: Imagine if the deputy PM in Japan visited Pearl Harbor, then laid down flowers for all the Japanese pilots died in 1941. (Juliet Huang) Imagine, indeed.
Here’s what they always leave out of these reports. Two Vietnamese men living in the area saved his life not once but twice that autumn day. The first time was when they fished an injured McCain out of the lake. The second time was when they protected from a group of angry fellow citizens who wanted to beat the shit out of him or worse. McCain never said “thank you.” If it were not for these two men, McCain’s life would probably have ended that day at the age of 31.
By the way, the monument in front of which Harris and Austin stood is actually a tribute to the Vietnamese who captured McCain. Someone should have translated the inscription for her. (Ouch!) It says: On 26 October 1967 near Trúc Bạch Lake in the capital, Hanoi, the citizens and military caught Pilot John Sidney McCain. The US Navy Air Force Aviator was flying aircraft A4, which crashed near Yen Phu power station. This was one of ten aircraft shot down that same day.
In the name of good bilateral relations, the Vietnamese indulge official US Americans who insist on paying tribute to a man who was bombing their capital and its residents back in the day. A US vice president and secretary of defense paying tribute to a man whose bombing missions killed Vietnamese? It’s beyond perverse.
I guess this site will be a regular on the trip down (war) memory lane tour. John McCain was flying over Hanoi in a A-4E Skyhawk on his 23rd bombing mission. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the Vietnamese anti-aircraft defense, his jet crossed paths with a missile. Memo to future official US visitors: You might want to skip this particular war monument out of respect to your hosts.
Shalom (שלום), MAA