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Return to Vietnam

A veteran, his daughter, their journey

Shiny, happy people laughing…


In the weeks since we’ve returned from Vietnam, many readers have asked us how the people of Vietnam really feel about Americans, especially U.S. veterans.

Obviously, we didn’t understand what people were saying when they were speaking Vietnamese, and maybe we’re naive, but it certainly seemed we were quite warmly welcomed everywhere we went, even at a former Viet Cong guerilla’s restaurant and an orphanage where children have disabilities linked to Agent Orange exposure and other remnants of the Vietnam War.

It was fairly obvious that my father was an “American War” veteran, given his age and the fact that people either asked outright or he told them in response to the frequent question of “have you been to my country before?” But still, everyone had a big smile and a peace sign – a frequent greeting gesture, though perhaps just to Americans! – for us.


Here are some lovely ladies my father wanted a photograph with while we were waiting to get into part of the Cu Chi tourist complex. (By the way, our guide told us the girls were giggling infectiously because it’s considered very odd to have three people posed like this – maybe it’s an unlucky number, or just uneven? Can anyone out there in the blogosphere explain this?)

So, the people on the street definitely seemed to feel very good about Americans. As for the feelings we got about being Americans … a bit of a different story. Check back later for more on that.

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 8th, 2007 at 8:57 am by Nicole Neroulias. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Vietnam veterans, Vietnam veterans



About this blog
"Return to Vietnam" chronicles the journey of Col. Andonios Neroulias USA (Ret.) of Briarcliff Manor, NY, joined by his daughter, staff writer Nicole Neroulias, to the country he fought in 40 years ago. They are traveling with Vietnam veterans and Rotarians from Rockland County and other parts of the country. Check this blog for daily posts, photos, recordings and slideshows about their experiences.
About the authors
Nicole and Andonios Neroulias

Nicole Neroulias grew up in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and graduated from Cornell University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered religion and city news in Cyprus, Connecticut and California, where she earned several fellowships and prizes, including a national Religion Newswriters Association award. She joined The Journal News in early 2007 and also teaches journalism at Columbia.

Col. Andonios Neroulias emigrated from Greece in 1956 and was commissioned an officer through the ROTC program of the City College of NY. From 1967-68, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry (Tropic Lightning) Division, whose main base was in Cu Chi, known for its intricate Viet Cong tunnels. Among his military awards are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve and lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
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