2018 Healing & Reconciliation Journey to Vietnam
Warriors’ Journey Home is sponsoring its third return to Vietnam.
Locked in the memory vault of many veterans is their experience when they were young men was a war that made little sense in a country most had never heard of until the war.
Veterans from both sides of the war and their family members will meet on common ground to bring peace and wellness.
The final deadline for registration is 15 March 2018 with a $1,500.00 deposit required at the time of registration.
Why do you want to go back there?
Warriors’ Journey Home is sponsoring its third return to Vietnam with combat veterans, non-combat veterans and Person’s Of Strong Heart. A frequently asked question is, Why? Locked in the memory vault of many veterans is their experience when they were young men of 18 to 24 years of age. Their experience was of a war that made little sense in a country most had never heard of until the war. As in war some committed acts that were a violation of their personal values, ethics, and morals. Those invisible injuries are locked away with the memories. The return to the battleground with the intention of healing ritual and prayer is a balm to the wound. Veterans from both sides of the war and their family members will meet on common ground this time to bring peace and wellness.
50 – 60Years Ago…
The Vietnam War, as it was known in the United States, has a long and complicated past. The genesis goes back to the colonization of Indochina by European countries of the 19th century. The United States involvement occurred from November 1955 to 30 April 1975. The war in Vietnam was a proxy war between North Vietnam supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist countries and South Vietnam supported by the United States, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and other anti-communist countries. Historically the global community had just endured the conquest of fascism of World War II Axis powers; Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Korean War had halted in a stalemate leaving a North and South and the political conversations centered on the spread of communism or democracy. (The recent Ken Burns PBS documentary; The Vietnam War is a ten-part, 18-hour history lesson of the Vietnam war and worth viewing.)
It was a period of social upheaval and protest within our own nation. In this environment, young men were conscripted into military service or volunteered to serve in a distant land. In this civil war between opposing political factions fighting for one Vietnam our young men fought in a war with no front line, no people to liberate, no purpose of a noble cause. The young Americans were told they were protecting the South Vietnamese people; many of the South Vietnamese were caught between becoming communist or serving a government they mistrusted. Most of South Vietnam is rural and agricultural with little interest in politics. Success, in the eyes of the American policy, was a higher body count.
Coming home was nearly impossible for the Vietnam veteran – coming home in a good way. The ill-defined purpose of war, the social upheaval, and then blaming the soldiers for the war caused many to deny their service. Many began living a life of quiet desperation. It seems all the anger and frustration of an unjust system with our own nation (Civil Rights, Equal Rights, etc.) manifest by scapegoating the Vietnam veteran and the Vietnam era veteran.
If History Repeats Itself…
In 2010 Warriors’ Journey Home and Soldier’s Heart returned to Vietnam for the healing and reconciliation work. Veterans of the American military met with former ARVN soldiers, former Viet Cong, and North Vietnamese veterans. We spent time sharing war experiences with one another. We visited battle areas, Areas of Operation and firebases and conducted ceremonies of sacred intention to mourn the losses, claim the lost souls and bring them home, and asked for peace.
Project Vietnam, a Kent Roosevelt High School Class of 2012 started on this first journey 2010. The class of 2012 elected to build a sorely needed library for Kim Dong Elementary School. The class members were made aware because their class advisor, Mrs. Beth Schluep was one of those on the journey. Many of the Kent Roosevelt’s students have fathers and grandfathers who served in Vietnam; some knew the story of the riots on the Kent State University Campus in 1970 when four students died and others were wounded. In 2014, on the second Warriors’ Journey Home return to Vietnam, the library at Kim Dong Elementary School was dedicated, a school assembly program by the students, faculty, and staff welcomed the American friends.
The veterans discover a peace that they have not experienced in four or five decades after their return home. The Strong Hearts, civilians, report that “Now I understand. I am so grateful for this experience.” In 2014 thirteen Warriors’ Journey Home members and friends returned to Vietnam. In many areas evidence of the war are present – bullet markings at the Citadel in Hue, B-52 bomb craters in Cu Chi, pieces of claymore mines and bullets at Pleime. The earth is healing as hearts healed and souls are made whole.
Every Picture Tells a Story
1. 2014 healing ceremony and a baptism of one of the TET 1968 veterans in the Perfume River.
2. ARVN and Marine veteran share a moment with Montangard village leaders.
3. Beth Schluep with the children of the Kim Dong Elementary School.
4. An affirmative embrace following a healing ceremony at the battle area.
5. John Schluep sharing a moment with a care provider at Friendship Village.
The Itinerary for 2018
The itinerary is currently developing as veterans detail where they need to return to in Vietnam. As of this date, February 2018 the areas include: Plieku, Hue, Da Nang, Phu Bai, Trang Bang, Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon). The dates are 30 September to 14 October 2018.
Help A Vet and Make a Difference
The overall cost per person is $4,000.00 to $4,500.00 and Warriors’ Journey Home has set aside a substantial amount of monies to support this journey. The cost secures our domestic and international air travel, transportation in country, lodging, most meals and several admission fees. All donations are helpful and indicate a support of our veteran’s healing. Warriors’ Journey Home is a 501c3 organization and contributions are a tax-deductible charitable donation (check with your tax preparer). Our staff is all volunteer, so very little of your donation covers our overhead and administrative costs. You can help by mailing a check to:
Warriors’ Journey Home – Vietnam 2018
PO Box 67121
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44222
Or by donating online through our web page: Warriorsjourneyhome.org