Today we are still operating in the vicinity of Dong Ha. In the morning we visited a cemetery for the war dead. That would be the North Vietnamese dead, as those fighting for the southern side were not so honored by the victors. (In the US, the Confederate war dead were not buried in US war cemeteries either.) This national cemetery has 10,000 graves and is one of three. Now, estimates of war casualties range upwards of a million and a half, so most are buried in family plots. This makes it easier for descendants to tend the gravesites, as it is their duty to do.
Afterwards we visited the Ben Hai bridge crossing the Ben Hai river, which was the line of division from 1954 until 1975. There is a small museum with many photos of the early years of the conflict, and maps charting the individual ordnance strikes. I was able to explain about the range of naval gunfire, which was quite heavy in this sector by the beach.
Next we visited the tunnels at Vinh Moc, where the entire town moved underground to escape the bombardment. With heads ducked, we could walk through these – different from the tiny tunnels built for offensive attack near Saigon.
And much later, after dinner, my friends somehow managed to acquire a birthday cake. It was so light and airy – absolutely delicious! Astounding to find in Asia, where ovens are not part of the kitchen.