Community Tensions Over Proposed Vietnamese American Monument

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

This is an interesting New York Times story about community tensions in Wichita, Kansas over a proposed new Vietnamese American monument to be erected at/near the city’s Veterans Memorial Park: In Kansas, Proposed Monument to a Wartime Friendship Tests the Bond.

The idea, proposed by the city’s small population of Vietnamese Americans, was to have a monument that celebrated the alliance between American forces and the South Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War — a conflict that irrevocably shaped all of their lives.

Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), some American veterans objected to the plan. They see the park as a place to remember American service members alone. A monument to Vietnamese Americans would apparently sit just a little too close to what they would like to memorialize about the war, whatever that may be.

Last month, after some long, tense talks at city hall, they reached a compromise. The Vietnamese American monument will sit just outside the Veterans Memorial Park, set apart from the rest of the memorials by a landscaped, six-foot earthen berm, with no sidewalk between.

Ah, even the memorialized get ghetto-ized. What’s the point? Why go to all that trouble to separate and hide the monument? Even still, the compromise location is apparently still too close for some of the American veterans. Is it really that difficult? I guess some people just can’t get over what divides us, rather than what brings people together.

(Photo Credit: NY Times)