The Fog of Peace

| January / February 2005

Is it forgiveness or a desire to forget that greets a young traveler to Vietnam?

There is one question that we must answer after every war: Can there be forgiveness? Laurel Wamsley, the daughter of a Vietnam-era veteran, went to Southeast Asia looking for the answer and was surprised to find herself so welcomed. Edward Tick, a psychotherapist who works with war veterans, regularly leads reconciliation trips to Vietnam. On these journeys, he has learned about war's impact on a people and their land, and one culture's openness to forgiveness. We bring you their articles because we think in this time of war in Iraq it is important to look back in order to see where we are headed. -- The Editors

My father remembers. When I ask him why he volunteered to join the Air Force in 1972, he remembers: "Because otherwise I would have been drafted into the Army. My draft number was 38." When I ask him how he knew he had to get out of the service in 1976, he remembers: "There was a crash. My friends hadn't gotten any sleep because they'd had to fly the hardest route: from the Philippines to Japan to Tacoma. They were exhausted -- they made a mistake. And when they died, everyone in the chain of command blamed someone else. Finally, they blamed my friends, who were dead on the side of a mountain."