My Vietnam experience (part 2)
Now! I knew getting to Southeast Asia was a priority for me. Staying in touch with Miss Ngoc briefly. Until now that I has so much info to share with her in finding out where Johnny may have lost his life and his mission. This is when Miss Ngoc showed much interest in helping me fulfill my request. Also feeling that immediately she was very inquisitive about the 'American War' and wanting to help me.
It took several months trying gather information to make sure all was correct and put things into perspective. Through all this Ngoc and I became internet friends sometime putting our business aside. Talking about our cultures and families.
Wow! Things were really looking up for me. Come on! It's been 40 years. Staying positive most of the time. When I'd leaned to the negative to the negative side. Ngoc was always there to pull me back, knowing that this was a big step for me. With the help from the U.S.M.C & Ngoc. We were there and pretty much narrowed fown...John's KIA spot.Ngoc furnishing me with some maps and also making a trip herself to the C-2 bridge and DMZ area. Informing things to me on her return trip back to Hanoi.
Miss Ngoc booked a ten day stay in Vietnam. Starting out in Hanoi. She met Miss Carol (John's Girlfriend 1967) and myself at the airport. Getting us settled into the hotel for some rest after a long flight. Ngoc then invited us to join her for dinner along with her family. It was such a joy tp join them! Then we off to visit Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hai Phong. Moving on to Cetral Vietnam visiting Da Nang, Hue city. Finally the moment came that we were able to enter and visit the small village of Hai Son, Quang Tri Province where John had been killed.
The Vietnamese people were ever so pleasant and happy to see us. Carol and I came with many gifts. Passing out candy, money, make-up, bead necklaces and some clothing etc. A feeling after forty years that I can't explain or put into words. We visited the village people, taking group photos and payed with the children for some time. Two contries coming together. it was then we had to say good-bye to our new friends. Taking a moment to wander off by ourselves to pray. Again saying our good-byes to the area where John & many others had giving their live to our country. We then contunued acrross the DMZ all the way to Khe Sanh (Lao Bao border). It was very emotional and sometimes quite an overwhelming day for me.
We continued to enjoy more of Vietnam's beauty. Visiting many temples, silk factories and the floating markets on the Mekong river.
Remember this is a small military story. It took almost a year to prepare and the ending results are beyond believe. I am a much better and happier person today after suffering for 40 years on what happen to my only brother John back in October 1967. There will be a special place in my heart for Vietnamese peole.
Steven D. Roberts.
Published on 10/22/08