memorial day

most memorial days i think about my uncle Lâm.
think about that time i went looking for his name on the wall when i was a kid and i thought there would be so many nguyens.

so prayers i guess for everyone who gets confused when they say that someone died for our country.

because who is our.
who doesn’t know what memorials to lay flowers on.
who was there and then a war came and then you were part of it.
for the translators and the drivers and the administrators and the journalists and the nurses and the chaplains and soldiers of all places.
i asked my dad to tell me some stories this year about Lâm. he told me about how he would take my dad to watch soccer games and eat banh mi when he was a kid. how he was supposed to stay home as saigon fell, wait to get out like the rest of my family. and how he felt like he couldn’t. like he needed to stay fight. and so he did.
these photos are an accidental tour of vietnam war memorials: the vietnam war memorial in philadelphia, the only one i’ve been to in the us that honors both south vietnamese soldiers and american troops; from memorial day 2015 in washington d.c. where i visited the wall; from a cemetery honoring north vietnamese soldiers in vietnam.

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