Saturday, January 11, 2020

Week 2 Ellen Hickman

Ellen Hickman
Professor Valverde
ASA 150 E

In reading Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen’s chapter four, the stories of the women who served on the South Vietnamese’s side during the Vietnam War spoke of the pain in their lives. This shed light on three women who immigrated to Australia but still have strong connections to the country they left. In considering the Narration of Vietnam War as a concept, as discussed in class, the stories of these women are not the normal narratives to receive attention. One interesting aspect of the South Vietnamese Nu Phu Ta (WAC) was the Medical Corps (Nguyen 90). This would have included nurses.

 Most of the images for South Vietnamese nurses with a quick google search brought up the American overseas nurses with brown hair, white skin and who had their stories strongly showcased. The picture used for this is of South Vietnamese nurses during the war. There are fewer pictures like these than those celebrating the work of nurses from the United States. This one from a gallery in Australia presents nurses Nguyet (left) and Minh (right) at Long Xuyen hospital in Vietnam during the war 1965. This image is powerful because it shows that these women did not stand idly by during a conflict but signed up to help others.

 In considering the current unrest, the picture next to it is of another nurse taken in Iran. Although from 2017, it is important to remember that these women have great stake in what happens to their homelands. This topic is important to me because my mother is a nurse. She does not think her stories are important but they open a window into what a New York Public hospital used to be like. That was why I instantly was drawn to nurses when I saw the South Vietnamese had a medical unit listed among the armed forces. If they felt comfortable to share, their stories would help refine the collective knowledge of what happened to them in regards to the war.    

Question: Are there people in your life who have important pieces of history that you wish they recorded? What can we do to preserve more of the stories of women who are being forgotten for their contribution as nurses to help others in their time of need? What can be done to bring light to nurses and women around the world currently so that their stories are not forgotten either?

Nguyen, Nathalie Huynh Chau. South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After. Praeger, an Imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2016.

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