Rhonda Holman’s “Tear down that berm”

I am re-printing Rhonda Holman’s pretty fine post Tear down that berm which appeared at TBTSNBN.  The editorial deals with the controversy of seperating the “Vietnamese-American community’s memorial” from the “Veterans Memorial Park” by an earthen berm.  The story caught the attention of the New York Times.  It is always nice when Wichita gets on the national radar in these ways.

Totally unrelated:  I have often wondered if Rhonda is a Mennonite and a pacifist.  Given that her hometown is Halstead, KS, that is not a huge leap; and the content of her opinion pieces have also made me wonder about Rhonda’s possible Anabaptist roots. 

Any way, the post:

Tear down that berm?

vietnammemorialIn the end last month, the Wichita City Council voted 7-0 to place the Vietnamese-American community’s memorial near but not in Veterans Memorial Park, separated by an earthen berm and the lack of a sidewalk between them. The issue caught the attention of the New York Times, which published an article about the memorial dispute. Among the Times’ quotes:
“How could people now separate us with a wall? Why the need?” asked Nga Vu, whose brother died in Vietnam War.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with being Vietnamese,” said John Wilson, a U.S. Army veteran. “This is about serving in the American military. That’s it.”
“This has divided us, our American community, and we don’t want to make this a thing that will divide us,” said the Rev. Kenny Khanh Nguyen. “But I hope that it will look silly to our children and grandchildren. I hope that the next generation will take down that berm. And I hope that the relationship can heal later on.”

This was just a thought experiment for me, how would our posters differ from those folk over there.  Please “no-cheating”: post first, and look over there second.

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Thank you, all.  iggy donnelly


Filed under History, Uncategorized, WAR, World Politics

7 responses to “Rhonda Holman’s “Tear down that berm”

  1. First off, I posted yesterday over ‘there’. I stated our government let this country down by allowing politicians to run the war, which doomed us to failure over there.

    But, yes, tear it down. Just like the confederate flag, it has no use any more. All one needs to do is read about the friendships that came out of previous wars, including Viet Nam, of people on opposite sides of the war to realize the ugliness of war can be overcome by good people.

    Tear it down: We don’t need to continue with hate, regardless of what happened in the past.

  2. I am saddened and embarrassed by the decision to separate the memorials. It keeps the worst part of that war alive (hate) and stands as a reminder of people who are intolerant.

    bigot — : a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

    I feel like we live in a city that is building a monument to bigotry.

  3. lilacluvr

    I’ve asked ‘over there’ on that blog ever since this issue exploded one question – I wonder how many American lives were saved by the help of these South Vietnamese soldiers during that insane war?

    And this is the thanks we give them – an earthen berm so that no ‘real’ American will have to look at their memorial while looking at the ‘real’ American memorial.

    Bigotry has no shame – does it?

  4. Ann

    The Vietnamese community in Australia are a credit to us. There was a huge influx after the war but these people have proved to be tolerant, hard working and trust worthy. They’ve been our neighbours, friends and work colleagues for the past 30 odd years They integrated really well and the kids went to local schools where they learned the English language and actually became interpreters for their parents. Unlike other nationalities who come here and think Australia owes them everything the Vietnamese came here, worked hard, saved hard bought or built homes, helped each other and never have I ever heard a bad word from them about anyone or anything. I love their lifestyle, their restaurants where we can go and be made feel most welcome. Nothing is ever too much trouble for them. How can you not respect people who just want to live in peace and have a decent life. They certainly showed some of the Australians a thing or two. Good on them they are great people and I noticed a lot more of them marching in our Anzac parade this year. The Vietnam Veterans seemed to be increasing each year and now these guys march along side them.
    I take my hat of to them.

    • Howdy, Ann. I worked with many Vietnamese when I was stationed over there. Many invited me to their homes for dinner, etc.. I found all to be hard working, friendly, religious and warm people. My memories of them are all good. My memory of the war, not so good.

  5. Ann

    They actually breathed new life into a couple of areas that had an aging population and opened Asian grocery stores, cheap clothing stores and hairdressing salons, They are very competitive with their prices also and in fact they gave the local market a run for their money,. The place I live in now was built by a Vietnamese and he’s a lovely man. They are quiet but enjoy a laugh like the rest of us. You’d have thought that there would have been a reluctance to integrate as war brings out the bad in some people but they have fitted in well and enjoy our lifestyle unlike the muslims who mix only with their own people and just won’t integrate at all. Bring out more Vietnamese and less of the other and I’d be happy.

  6. In fairness to the BTSNBN, I read comments there and plenty of conservatives saw the planned division as a bad thing. I did not count them, but I think it was the majority opinion over there.