Today I found myself in a weakened state, not wanting to battle forces that disagreed with my own beliefs. I found myself counting the number of times I had gone to battle, trying to win a war that feels incredibly hopeless. I found myself counting my allies, and seeking out those whom I knew I could trust to confide in. I found myself feeling incredibly weakened and alone, save for one person who completely understood.
And tonight, as I reflect on the day I realize how silly my battle was in reality. It was so minor in comparison to the battles that have been recounted to me over the past few months. As this project moves forward, and as I fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, my comprehension of the Montagnard-American compassion grows.
In the past week, I have been told countless stories of bravery, battles, challenges and victories. My past week has felt more like fiction than fact. As each story unfolds, and with each new contact I meet, I feel more and more like I have entered another world.
Saturday night I drove to
Included here is a photo of a gift they gave me, too. It seems every time I meet with someone to talk about this project, I am given a gift! And each time, I wish that I had something to give in exchange. Then it occurred to me the other day that the big thank you will quite possibly be the film itself. By sharing these circumstances with others who—like me—didn’t know anything about Montagnard culture or very little about the negative outcomes of the end of the Vietnam War, we will be able to hopefully make some small impact.
But I am very careful not to make any promises, as so many American promises have been broken already. At the very least, we will be able to finish the interviews and start sharing them with others. And this audio and visual record will help document history—a history of a people and their land, culture and belief systems. A history of a people who—like Americans—have been fighting for their freedom for many, many years.