A walk in the DMZ

by James Murtaugh, Jun 27, 2002 | Destinations: Vietnam / Quang Tri

Quang Tri. We are going to walk to a hill in the DMZ that the Americans called Mutters Ridge. Some on our tour want to find old fighting holes on top of the hill. To me the idea seems crazy but I go along just to be in the countryside. It has rained and the bus can't get close. It will be a long walk and we will get to have the red mud of the area all over us. It is not the DMZ of long ago. We run into an area of rubber trees. During the war all that grew here was destroyed, only mud or dust. As we walk in there are less and less people. One of the members of our party is older and he is not feeling well. A guide stays with him. A old Vietnamese man invites the American into his house to get him out of the sun. The old man lives alone and tells the American thru the guide, that his whole family was killed in the war. We find it amazing that he has no hate of bitterness towards us. After the long walk we are there. My friends find depressions in the ground. Their old fighting holes. I wonder what they are really looking for. Perhaps it is the teenage Marine of long ago. The hills are mostly empty. Just grass and some trees. Land that is not good for much. Yet, young men on both sides gave their lives to gain control of them. A peaceful scene now. The wind blows thru the trees and the heat becomes less. I can feel the ghosts of the young men riding along on the wind. They are saying to me that we humans must find another way to solve our problems. I think they are right! Jim Murtaugh

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