An American Radioworks documentary, "Vietnam - A Nation, Not a War." MPR’s Daniel Zwerdling and Deborah George traveled to Vietnam to report on how the country and its people have fared in the past 25 years. Program contains three segments: History and Reconciliation Americans continue to brood about the purpose and the toll of the war. In Vietnam, it's called "The American War," and the anniversary is a time for victory celebrations. Still, many Vietnamese are eager to accept Americans as friends - and business partners. And many Vietnamese who sided with the U.S. during the war continue to suffer. The Legacy of Agent Orange Thousands of Americans who served in Vietnam suffer from diseases they say were caused by exposure to the defoliant called Agent Orange. In Vietnam, the health and environmental damage caused by the chemical is easy to see. But scientists say the impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam has not been sufficiently studied, so the extent of harm is difficult to judge. Vietnam's MIA's While U.S. officials continue to search for the remains of some 1,500 American soldiers who never came home from the Vietnam war, the number of missing Vietnamese soldiers may be 300,000 or more. Some Vietnamese have employed psychics to search for their missing relatives - with surprising results.
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With news from Minnesota Public Radio. I'm going to Cunningham penalties for minors who are caught using a false drivers license or other Falls ID would be increased under a bill passed by the Minnesota Senate today. The bill still needs final approval from the house before it goes to Governor Ventura reducing the rate of African American teen pregnancies is the goal of a rally which will be held at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in st. Paul this afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Health says the states rate of African American teen pregnancies is the highest in the nation Rosemary Rodriguez Hagar of the office of minority Health says teens will hear from people their age. We have a teen mother who is coming and she's talking about her experiences as a teen mom and what what the issues are for her. And of course you. That's what you choose me to be here because while adults can tell his what it is the reality is it that they listen better to the Pierz Minnesota Department of Health office of minority health and the African-American teen pregnancy prevention.Collaborative are sponsoring the event the rally which is free and open to the public will be held at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in St. Paul from 3:30 to 5:30 is working half a day today before heading out on an extended weekend. His staff won't reveal where he's going some lawmakers say they're disappointed that vent or won't be around to take an active role in end of the session discussions the forecast for Minnesota today calls for Cloudy Skies Statewide with some scattered showers possible in the north and west high temperatures today mainly in the sixties tonight clearing in the Northwest with a chance of showers and Central in eastern Minnesota lowest tonight mostly in the forties at this hour Duluth reports Fair skies and 57 degrees. It's cloudy in St. Cloud in 60 and in the Twin Cities partly cloudy skies a temperature of 64 that's a news update on Greta Cunningham 6 minutes, and I'll pass 12Welcome to this special report from American radio works and NPR news Vietnam a nation. Not a war. I'm Bill Duesenberg. The conflict at the Vietnamese called the American war ended on April 30th 1975 when North Vietnamese troops capture the capital city of South Vietnam the famous photograph of a u.s. Evacuation helicopter pulling away from a rooftop in Saigon left many Americans with mixed emotions shame anger relief, but what about our former? Enemy? It was hard to know the US lost the war. So there were none of the ties that usually reunite former enemies. No. Of occupation, no Marshall plan to help rebuild the bombed and ravaged landscape 25 years later Vietnam and the United States are starting to get to know each other maybe for the first time correspondent Daniel zwerdling and producer Debra George traveled through the former War zones of Vietnam to discover how the country has mended in this report how Vietnamese government officials and ordinary see Are reconciling with their old foes the billboard in the parking lot says welcome to the coochie tunnels there big letters in plain English and there's probably no other spot in Vietnam that symbolizes so powerful a how the Vietnamese have made peace with the American role in the war good afternoon. Ladies and gentlemen, only one hour the guy that dressed like an American park ranger. He starts at or in front of a video screen but a small outdoor theater in the woods follow me, please the Communist guerrillas Doug a hundred fifty miles of tunnels here right under the American troops are about an hour's drive from Ho Chi Minh City for Saigon as they used to call it the Gorillaz build barracks and weapons factories and Hospital operating room all underground. They live down there during the day then sneak out a nice and attack the guy couches that a pile of leaves now here. I show you the secret. No, no. Leave for making came this Goblin Dance open chip Dog House remodeled the coochie tunnels to accommodate them back during the war the Gorillaz made the tunnel openings. So narrow that usually only Vietnamese could slip through the tunnel. So big fat Americans can go down to your no higher than your waist. Would you like a peach Internal Medicine temperature? No stop. You can relive the war in a small Way by banging away at the firing range on weapons that soldiers actually used they charge a dollar for every shot. If that doesn't appeal to you. You can buy him a mentor in earshot. They taking the profaned sayings that American Commandos used to a mudder to build up the courage in battle and they've engraved the words with a skull and crossbones on cigarette lighters. Look I walk through the valley of death. I will fear no evil for I am the evil s son of a bitch in the valley. A lot of Americans to visit Vietnam shake their heads at some point and say to themselves. Wait a minute no matter how you felt about the war. But are you supported it's or oppose? This were fought in it. You can't escape the basic facts the communist-led Army killed 58000 American troops the US Military and their self Vietnamese allies killed roughly three million soldiers and civilians in their own country American warplanes destroyed best areas of Vietnam with bombs and pesticides and fire. So Why don't be enemies hate Americans American it is the first question and he's taking us to a sacred sites in Hanoi to explain his answers. Yes, the Vietnamese call it the one pillar pagoda pagoda Rises on one pillar out of a murky pond that's covered with purple lotus flowers smoke keeps twirling around from all the incense sticks that Buddhist pilgrims light at the altar who says this Pagoda reflects. The first reason why Vietnamese have forgiven Americans I think of Americans But the true face of an item is not worth living and compassion and pity. It is essential feature, of course many religions preach forgiveness, but not says there's another explanation that tomorrow pragmatic when you look at the hall sweep of Vietnam history, the war against the Americans was a blip for more than two thousand years Vietnam main enemy has been China. In fact, the two countries fought their latest were only twelve years ago along their border many Americans didn't even hear about it. Just so five. We have always after the Wii Fit trainer to make fish at the park at the hardships of the world to be able to live in peace with giants. He says the country's applied the same lesson to the United States and finally who says the Vietnamese can Embrace Americans now because Uncle ho told him to that's what many Vietnamese call the father of their Modern Nation Ho Chi Minh, ho led the country to Triumph first. They kicked out the French colonizers, then they humiliated the United States, but many Vietnamese will tell you that even during the war Howe said they shouldn't blame the American people for causing their suffering. They should blame America's leaders. Happy where you going Vietnam seems like many people have taken these teachings two hearts. One of the hip new sports in Hanoi is an American Sports computers calculate your bowling score in the players sing along with American rock music and Munch fried onion rings with ketchup or stroll along the city streets. The government has passed through the buildings with huge red banners that held the Communist party, but Vietnamese Wiz by in their motorbikes. Wearing jackets emblazoned with the American flag. Maybe I'll just makes it sound like it's been a little too easy for Vietnamese to let go of the war and one woman says the process has been more painful name is Sun wah. 5 * sin qua is marketing director for a fashion magazine. She says her own childhood. And I know I was wore her home is squeeze with a bunch of row houses around the courtyard that's decorated with spindly plants can still hear those nights when she was 12 years old and the US was bombing the city and the glass is broken and people screaming. I see the big hole on the street. I was so scared. I had to try to hide myself under anything that I can get myself in. I just how to say I just the feeling you just to run but then three years ago a lifetime of buried resentments and confusion suddenly bubbled up inside of her it happened on her first trip to America she went on business to San Francisco, but that I have such mixed feeling I thought that it's a beautiful country. I went to the beach and I just woke up slowly around and I see the landscape so beautiful and I thought they are nice people when I met them on the street. They are so lovely in San Francisco the more she began to feel bitter Vietnam is one of the poorest countries in the world College professors here make $30 a month you can I get the Communist party's economic policies helped drag them down, but nobody would dispute the fact that the war also set the country back way back when other parts of Asia begins surging to the Vietnamese people. That's the American that have good life. They have control. Why is why is shrimp the bomb Vietnam War I should fit none suffer from the world that makes the Vietnamese people live in misery and they they are far behind. Unfair sanwa touches on the very issue that could Nets Vietnam and America together. The economy if you drive along a stretch of road near downtown Hanoi you come to What's called the labor markets in most ways. It's like any other Street in Hanoi. The sidewalks are crammed with vendors making noodle soups and selling clothes and fixing bicycle tires and every morning young man who need jobs cluster on the street corners and just stand there waiting let him with everybody and I know I know is that this is where you come to hire unskilled workers for the day or even for just an hour some of the men are wearing khakis and helmets that used to serve in the army. They say they live part of the year on their families Farms, but they can't grow enough food to survive. Orleans for the conservation, but you know that we are too crowded in Vietnam is too many people and you want to come to City to find more jobs to have more income for the family. Do you have any Joss and you can off of us? We are ready to help you problem keeps getting worse. The population is growing faster than almost anywhere in Asia by specials tonight. There's a seafood ceviche Tapas and cilantro Walnut. Pesto, which is very nice. There is a seafood stew with a smoked Chipotle. It's lunchtime at the Red Onion just a few minutes from the street corners where the unemployed men hang out for an Investor's hope this restaurant reflects the future of Vietnam. Part A which is a go back to the Vietnam War for a moment's remember the infamous Hanoi Hilton. That was the nickname of the Halo prison where the North Vietnamese kept American pilots who they shut down a few years ago the government toward down most of that prison and in its place investors from Singapore to Hanoi Powers. It's a hotel and condo complex. Is this restaurant? That's a foreign businessmen began flocking to Hanoi and begin hanging out at this restaurant because it would say it is a transitional economy. And I thought it would be the next Asian tiger and I wanted to to come to a place where I could witness that Evolution first and not just witness it off it, this is Atticus Weller, he works for Citibank in the Vietnam in the same Thai the broad Executives from Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble and the chef at this restaurant is a tremendous amount of energy in Vietnam. So when you go out into the street UIUC everyone's running a business and it feels very vibrant. But lately that enthusiasm has started to see our investor say government officials promising to do something about the corruption in Vietnam and other frustrating communist red tape American and Vietnamese officials have been negotiating a major trade agreement that would pack up some of these issues. But my name's I could have say they're tired of waiting around for reforms letter says companies that set up factories and Offices here just a few years ago have already begun to shut them down. The danger through Vietnam is not that it's going to have an adversarial relationship of the us where the u.s. Is interested in being imperialistic. The end of the Vietnam is that the US was going to pay attention Vietnam who will become irrelevant. You can see Vietnam dilemma in the city. They used to call Saigon. On the face of it this city worst thing with promise take a stroll along the river under the palm trees. The dinner boats are filling up with customers. The streets are blazing with neon a woman on her way to dinner says folks here in Ho Chi Minh city arts all uptight like people in the capital of Hanoi more than a thousand miles away. Louisville is more friendly more friendly than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city is more efficient struggling face of Vietnam all over the city. There are skeletons of half-finished Office Buildings and hotels investor started them a few years ago look like the economy was going to take off then they walked away when the economy stalled and some people say that Vietnam will never get out of the truck until leaders. Welcome to groups of people back from the fringes. Coming up the Vietnamese want Americans back. This time is Taurus and business partners. You're listening to Vietnam a nation. Not a war a special report from American radio works and NPR National Public Radio. The shooting into 25 years ago this month, but for many minnesotans the Vietnam War still affects their lives and memories. How is your life different after Vietnam? Did you serve there? Were you even alive then on this 25th anniversary of the US withdraw from Vietnam help us create an internet scrapbook about the legacy of the war visit the Minnesota Public Radio website to share your stories about life 25 years from Vietnam winter internet browser to Minnesota Public Radio. Org and help us revisit Vietnam. This is a special report from American radio works Vietnam a nation. Not a war. I will be using her. It's twenty-five years now since the Vietnam War ended and the Vietnamese are still making peace with old enemies as correspondent Daniel zwerdling reports. The Vietnamese government will need to reconcile with some of its own citizens. If Vietnam is going to join the global economy. I have been unemployed for 25 people who know him say that and when is a remarkable man, actually that's not his real name. He's afraid if he identifies himself. He might get in trouble with a Communist governments you win lives in Ho Chi Minh City and he's a gifted teacher he could work as a translator. He could run a business or government office, but the wind hasn't been able to do any of these things for the past twenty-five years because he worked for Americans during the war life is easy to fall for the women and life is very hard for the losses associated with the losers. So I have to share the fate of the losses and wins taking us to his 3 room house. He does. I want people to see him talking to a foreign journalists when the Communists from the north took over the country in 1975. They rounded up hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who had ties to Americans many have fought in the South Vietnamese Army and the Communists lock them up in prison camps for years and when was lucky he work for an American company not the army so we didn't have to go to prison but he's been punished in another way for 25 years. Now the government has blocked so-called collaborators from getting regular jobs in this prevented their children from going to college when laughs about it today the way his country has wasted his talents used to be a photographer and writer but when the Communists took over friends warned him to hide his skills at home number one and don't ever use a camera because that is the the equipment of a spy so he has to typewriter in the garbage and he sold his Nikon camera for 5 lb of rice. Goodwin says he gets by you tutor students in English quietly on the side and he's turned the tiny patch of dirt behind his home into a miniature farm. When says you can feed his family of 10 people with a single chicken or do I have to use a poor person's trick. If you put a lot of salt are you can eat just one piece only you can eat more just before his American employers offer to help him escape the Communists. They said they give his family a new life in the United States, but he declined and he's glad he did. He said no matter who runs the government Vietnam is his country one, very important thing. Set the unification of it now. That's very very very very important to me. If there's a chance to reunify any slogan. We can find a way to survive. The country is communist leaders are finally beginning to reach out to fellow Vietnamese who they have always seen as foes. It's too late for people like me when he's 64 years old, but Vietnam need all the help they can get from the Next Generation. What American tourists come to Vietnam they might hire Tony Nang to arrange their trip. He's been at the office since 6 a.m. And this particular morning. He's been Fielding to fax machine free computers and 3 telephone you up at the hotel. How long is known as a Viet kieu? That's what the Vietnamese call people who fled the country after the war. The 18th of April was one of the days that I was 7 years old remember for the rest of my life. When is Mother heard that the Communist forces were about to take over? She grabbed Tony and his brother and sister they all cramped together on a motorbike in the race to the airport. She stay behind with Tony's grandparents. The people were running after the plane as it was taken off Mothers carrying kids and then also men hanging onto the bay doors as it was closing. And that was my last time in Serbia now. Non grew up with relatives in California. He became an American citizen. He tried to get in touch with his mother, but nobody knew her address. He started to assume she had probably died until 1991. I received a phone call at 4 in the morning. And the person on the other end said this is your mother speaking and it was the first time in 16 years. Did they hear my mother's voice and she cried for 15 minutes. She says you remember me. Did you miss me? Non-food of Vietnam for a family reunions and these days he's commuting between his homeland of the United States. He's running the families Travel Agency in Ho Chi Minh City Knox has a first communist leader through all sorts of roadblocks in the way. They were worried that Exiles might try to overthrow the government but in just the last few months Vietnamese officials have announced new policies designed to attract people like nah, I'm back to the country for the first time ever viec you will be allowed to buy property in Vietnam. They can grow new Roots just speaking. Sometimes you a lot of the people in the Vietnamese community in the United States. How many do want to come back? But she said that fear of what would happen to me if I come back I think you can overcome that why government opening up letting have accused know that hey, you know, you say, okay, you're safe to come back. I think of you and I will develop a lot quicker and the misunderstandings will be put to passed so far be a q in America. Rushing to resettle although planes from the u.s. To Asia were filled a few months ago more Vietnamese Americans than ever before flu back to their Homeland to celebrate the new year with their relatives. We are back in Hanoi now more than a thousand miles from Saigon. We're inside the infamous Halo prison, when the government or down most of this prison a few years ago. They left just a corner as a memorial to suffering today Vietnamese school kids giggle at the mannequin Shackled In the old cells. They glanced at Packard about Vietnamese leaders who died here under the French colonialists. They look refli add photos of American pilots who spent years here in Chains two-thirds of the Vietnamese population was born after the war ended by the time they have children many people will only dimly remember that Vietnam and America fought a war. Vietnam is a nation of small farms some 80% of the Vietnamese people live in the countryside with a raise livestock will rice and other crops since the economic reforms there in the late 1980s farmers can once again raise and sell their own crops Daniel zwerdling spent the day in one Village about an hour's drive from Hanoi to see what the new economy means for Vietnamese farmers. Let me get to the Village of Futo their annual celebration has already started. Families have gathered around the village meeting Haus. This building has a steep roof with Curly Q's at the corners and just inside the massive doorway. There's a huge Shrine painted. All red and gold The Village leader is asking everybody who's at least 70 years old to please step up to the altar. Every year the village of 1,000 people honors all the elderly residents the guest of honor dress up in bright silk robes. They wear different colors depending on their ages one of the village Farmers explains what's going on? Old man in the head of inishmaan Carmen percentage of flower called a contribution to the Village old looking woman makes her way up front and she kneels in front of the Shrine in presses her forehead to the bamboo mat looking really you can see that that she's wearing with the red color and it's Miss that she's 80 years old and I T years old who told has changed over these 90 years. We ask the farmer if he can come back one morning and spend the day with his family and a few days later. He's waiting at 7 a.m. At the Village Gate. Are post name is boy sometime? Actually, she pronounces name himself the Vietnamese a tonal language have to be just right to get into the village. You walk under a faded yellow Archway. And as you walk down the path to X home, you can literally feel how the economy is changing under your feet times has only 5 years ago. We would have been walking in mud. Today. We're strolling on bricks. Let me get the X house is why I chose us more dramatic changes. My name is what TDN she has a huge smile and a mouth full of black teeth from a lifetime of June beetle nuts. She said 15 years ago. They had a thatched-roof made of rice stalks and they looked at home with kerosene lanterns today. The roof is covered with orange clay tiles and they've got light bulbs dangling from the ceiling. But they're getting antsy answering questions first things first and supposing somebody starts talking to you before you Sherman drink tea. My wife were born here in Phu to back in the 1930s. Everybody in the village was poor and everybody was a colonial subject the French ruled Vietnam, like a serf them since the end times whole family has grown up trapped in the middle of wars during World War. I the Japanese invaded and the village was wasted by famine because of the hunger people are just went out on the road and so many people died and especially at the corner when you told him to the Village, How many people died at the corner of the world war ended the French came back and tell him his wife started their family. They eventually had six Sons, but they hardly had any peace because Vietnamese Rebels begin fighting the French for Independence. When the French gave up the United States continue the War I to buy USC airplanes look like a butt flying across the sky and whenever they came we heard the siren people at that time that the land of the village is the Lamb of God. But didn't explode when the war finally ended in 1975 on Stanley Phelps jubilant after all three of their sons went off to fight the And all three made it back alive, but gradually they faced another crisis the Communist economy began to collapse into the bad part of a story time leads the way to his rice fields. Play some of the ways you can see the machine around the village in every direction from a distance that how does a food to look like an island in a green sea irrigation canal keep the fields ankle-deep in water times has when they farmed before the economic reforms if it's like going to work in a factory they had roles of golf in the morning government owns Collective only a little the collective pay them wages and the government of the Harvest by the late 1980s. The country was producing such measly rice crops that even Vietnam leaders were basically saying this economy is in shambles. These policies are a failure plus it didn't help that the Soviet Union was collapsing cutting off their aid to Vietnam. So Vietnam leaders announced sweeping reforms, they partial. The fields of the villagers and today. Farmers can do pretty much what they want. And how many rice you can produce from the piece of land is up to your labor. It's up to you new way of life and it's motivating Farmers to become more productive Vietnam had to import rice only 10 years ago, but now it's becoming one of the biggest exporters in the world and boy moist turning food is Farmers into entrepreneurs. As we walked back into the village we passed our neighbors are sitting on the ground Pounding Metal Sheets into a Trunks and suitcases if they sell on the streets of Hanoi. His family's telling Hogs. These are cute. You are breaking the law. If you sold anything on your own and kept at office. Now, you're a patriot and helping develop the country. So when boy and his wife is a couple of their son sit down for an afternoon meal. They can eat more lavishly than ever before D and has made chicken and mushrooms and sausages and potatoes are mice most days they mainly rice but now they can afford to splurge when they have guests and they talked about topics. That would have been Unthinkable five years ago on television. They bought a TV A woman so I don't like to see so sexy girls on TV. I just only want to hear the traditional Vietnamese music so I don't have that kind of program. I turn the TV off or even leave the room to let the young people to watch it alone. Not me, still one of the poorest countries in the world malnutrition is a major problem but development specialist say the economic reforms are dividing the population into classes roughly one-third of the farmers are as poor as ever. In fact, that wasn't the peasants right at a few years ago about 50 miles from the village. They were demanding more land and protesting high taxes and Corruption then another started the farmers are doing somewhat better. And finally, a third of the farmers are like times family their standard of living is surging crack star showing up in the society. We see warning signs when we take a stroll after lunch. Some of the most prosperous families and food to our building new homes in the most people have one story Bungalows, but these new houses are three-story towers with balconies and Dottie turrets and the owners are embedding the walls around their houses with broken shards of glass jealousy and crime have come to food to people they are too lazy. They don't want to walk they cannot be rich they become drop us a seat. But if it happens everywhere in the one that always stealing from each other. Some Vietnamese leaders are worried that the new economic policies might accidentally accomplished something that America's military could never do destroy communism a couple of years ago. One of times signs announced that he didn't want to spend his time in the rice fields anymore. He borrowed money and open the shop. They say he and his wife have to bleeding machines which clean the village Farmers rice and then spewing at the burlap bags and put that Hans family has ended hundreds of years of tradition. Nobody in this family Works in their rice patties anymore. They make most of their money in the new economy and they hire poor Farmers from Justin villages to do the field work for them back. But this way I would life is better because we can hide the people who are unemployed to come so that they have jobs and at the same time we can do all those things that make more profit is better. Do you wonder some days though whether you are becoming capitalists? Yes, and then he said no. 7th and goes home and lights. The incense sticks is my family's alter has a lot of times Ultra symbolizes one more messing with his family prosper and after the war some of the relatives flood to the United States and they send money back two times family by American Standard, but it goes a long way in a country where the average income is barely more than $300 a year for about 4 or invite you out of our house. My ancestor like beautiful flowers on the altar you hope you'll enjoy them with us to bless our family with health and happiness and success in business. Still become the scourge of Agent Orange a wartime weapon with a lifetime Legacy major funding for revisiting Vietnam is provided by the Stanley Foundation major funding for American radio works is provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Florence and John Schumann foundation with additional support from the John D & Catherine T MacArthur Foundation. You can find out much more about the legacy of the Vietnam War in both Vietnam and the United States by visiting our website American radio works. Org. 25 years since the fall of Saigon Vietnam is trying to present a new image around the world as a center for tourism and foreign investment NPR's broadcast journalist series presents revisiting Vietnam and evens award-winning investigative reporter Daniel zwerdling Monday, May 1st at 7:30 at Macalester College Chapel in St. Paul free tickets are available at St. Paul's, Mississippi Market or the Seward co-op in Minneapolis. Call to a reminder. You can hear a rebroadcast of this Nunes program at 9 tonight here on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm field using bird with this special report from American radio works and NPR Vietnam a nation not a war many US veterans who fought in Vietnam have insisted for years that they suffer from serious diseases caused by the chemical defoliant known as agent orange during the war the US military sprayed agent orange over thousands of square miles of Vietnam jungles. The point was to destroy the jungle canopy. So the enemy Vietcong could not hide Below in the final part of our special report correspondent Daniel zwerdling examen, how old is weapon Called Agent Orange still affects Vietnam some Vietnamese, so you can see the legacy of Agent Orange in their children. Just visit a former Viet Cong Soldier one evening as Tiny home in Hanoi to get there. You turn down a long dark alley most Vietnamese houses are tucked inside Courtyard switch smelled musty like charcoal and Bryce. You can tell you're getting close to the veterans home. Call me when you hear his song birds. Veterans name is Winton, son, he and his wife and their two children and the grandparents all live together in a space. That's about the size of a typical American dining room. There is barely enough room for their beds and a sewing machine table where they surf he By the way, someone else's story. During the war with an anti-aircraft missile units. They shot down dozens of American plans, but son says the planes kept coming and a blanket of the Jungle with Agent Orange He says, it looks like fog with a nose and a sore throat, but at the time it did not know that the consequences of Agent Orange could last for long but what son came home from the war he and his wife started a family. He gestured toward the bed right in back of us and I realized I haven't even noticed her before there's a little girl with pigtails lying on her back and she's tucked under a quilt. So just your heads poking out. She's staring vacantly up at the ceiling son says she's not a little girl. She's almost 25 years old. She was born paralyzed. Her name is Wendy from tree. She snapped and lying that he and his wife had another baby this time. It was a boy and this time their child was born blind. Now the boy is a young man and he explores the world in his music. He's learning a traditional Vietnamese instrument, which looks like a dulcimer on legs, but it has only one string. You know that I love this musical instrument very much because it can be expressed on the type of the sentiments of the Human by the happiness the sadness it is so sweet like my mom singing. This veterans families symbolizes a? That keeps hanging over Vietnam how has agent orange transformed their country? It also raises show me questions for the United States and there are two main issue first have residues of the American pesticides actually deformed Vietnam children. The evidence is controversial will get back to you in a few minutes second. How has agent orange affect the country's environment? You can answer that question with your own eyes drive up a dirt road into Vietnam Central Highlands be the very lush jungle that existed here 30 years ago was wiped out by the agent orange herbicide. And even today we don't see any recovery of the Jungle that used to exist here. Dave levey helps running environmental consulting firm based in Canada. They've been working with Vietnamese officials on agent orange at the moment. We're passing farm houses made of bamboo about an hour from the town of Fuquay Varina. The armies fought some of their biggest battles in this region and US planes does the jungles with agent orange there would be anywhere from 3 to 11 aircraft staggered side by side so that they could cover a very wide area and and would create a wide swath of herbicide Through the Jungle. So they're petrified wood filter down everywhere side would come down as a very fine mist and it would hit the leaves of the trees and within about a day the leaves of the trees would fall off and the tree would effectively be dead and would fall over within the next month or so, I think we'll stop here. Let me says if you'd come here in the old days before agent orange, the hillsides in every direction would have been covered with thick for it. Now the landscape looks bizarre. The hills are covered with a thick green grass. There's hardly a single tree insights Levi says this grass is like a monster as soon as a herbicide kill the jungles the grass moved in and now it won't let the trees grow back the Vietnamese Carlos American bresse unless humans intervene somehow in this environment to improve it this this will last for centuries Levi says the Vietnamese could reverse some of the damage by tearing up the hillsides and planting millions of trees, but the government can afford to do much and let me says Agent Orange has created other serious side effects right where we're standing we're looking at a huge brown gash on one of the hillsides a whole chunk of the Hill has fallen on the way. Now, it's just very dangerous. Love you sis ever since the spraying killed the jungles landslides have a cup. , no question people ask just to the west of us here are very dependent on this road just for their daily livelihood to sell their products and wave and they're cut off for a period of days or weeks very frequently one of these these landslides occur and Bobby wants to show one more environmental Legacy. That's still affecting Vietnam 25 years since the war ended when you drive down the road you reach the fabled perfume River King sell here centuries ago. You have to cross the river on a ferry. That's just big enough to hold two cars in a ramshackle bus. Late last year it rained more than usual. This River gushed out over its banks and wiped out whole Villages. They were the worst floods in a hundred years about to the top of the first floor of the houses on the screen Banks here were totally submerged with with water and some some residents in this area ground. Actually at Levi says the floods would never have been that bad if the hillsides were still covered with forests. But when you ask Vietnamese about the most important legacies of the war, they don't talk about the environments they talk about their families. This is the center for disabled children on the fringes of Hanoi. Some children have stumps where they should have arms or legs. Most of the children have mental retardation show. My how old are these children victims of Agent Orange. She and other doctors began to sense that veterans were having an unusual number of babies with birth defects over the years. She persuaded the Vietnamese government and foreign aid groups to find almost a dozen children towns like this one. They call them peace and Villages at this branch in Hanoi the children live in three cinder block buildings there spare and clean the walls are Did that hospital minty green as we're talking in the hallway girl runs. What she having some problems with skin you see first. We don't see her skin problem. Why is 15 years old and she looks like a pretty young woman who happens to be wearing a black turtleneck under a white shirt, but can tell just to look more closely. Why is not wearing a black turtleneck her entire body from the top of her neck on down is black and Harry can let the girls shirt and shows us her back. It's covered with huge sagging tumors with agent orange as for looking at her back twice. That's something back home calls her the water buffalo. I'm very sad because my friend things that my skin look like Buffalo look lies about plow skin. When you talked to just about anybody in Vietnam, they accept it as fact that children like these are victims of Agent Orange. But American researchers say the issues more complicated ask Arnold Schecter heesung the children at the peace Villages feeling is that a minority of the problems might be related to dachshund Schecter is a public health researcher at the University of Texas. He's been studying the day action problem for years. Look Schecter says researchers in the US and Europe know that they action is one of the most toxic chemicals ever studied. It's actually a common pollutants. They actually created when Cities Burn garbage or when factories make paper or pesticides like agent orange and studies in laboratory animals and humans suggest that yes, they accent can cause diabetes and cancer and specific kinds of birth defects which actress has most of the traumatic birth defects. They point to in Vietnam have never shown up in the research. Actually. He says most of those chill In the piece of villages are probably victims of old-fashioned plagues like polio and cerebral palsy scientist need to do major long-term studies to figure out who's really been affected in Vietnam my best guess we're probably going to find that there are or have been since I may have died hundreds of thousands at least adults and children who have health problems from the dioxin in agent orange Shaker and other researchers have been trying for years to persuade the leaders of Vietnam of the United States to study the Bible together and representatives from both countries are trying to negotiate an agreement but one Vietnamese researchers says officials in his own government are torn over this issue. His name is Lake Howe died. He's a surgeon back in the 1960s. He was operating on wounded Viet Cong in the jungle. He does a mummy money. Lso pre-planned very very high in the sky and like a random small rain falling slowly from the sky. It was agent orange since then dies been studying dioxin for Viet nam's Red Cross and it's curious. You think the Vietnam leaders would be anxious to prove that the American pesticide has caused terrible problems, but I said some officials want to let go of the past if you want to close it out to the Past. To want to be friendly event Americans died in Vietnam. Now guy says he agrees they need to do more research depend on who's been affected and how but he says the legacies of Agent Orange are clearly so serious that maybe it's time to raise a sensitive topic. I wouldn't like to use the compensation. I would like you to use. What do you say it's compensation or humanitarian acts. Do you think the US government should give money to Vietnam US government should do something. Vietnam Zone government hasn't done much to help people who think that they accents hurt them until now we are back at the veterans home. We're back with you in town son and his family down there Alleyway in Hanoi so far his family's had to raise their disabled children by themselves. Their daughter requires constant care their son. The musician is more independent, but he needs help getting around town and the family can barely afford it researchers like Arnold Schecter would argue that this family's problem probably have nothing to do with the war Vietnamese leaders have just made an announcement. They're going to give veterans $10 a month for every disabled child and sick adult if they think their condition might be linked to agent orange and this family that's more than enough to pay their sons way through Music School. Daniel zwerdling for NPR news and American radio works This has been a special report from American radio works and NPR Vietnam Nation. Not a war. It was produced by Debra George and edited by Lauren Jenkins. The technical director was Michael Cullen with help from Steven Smith. The associate producer was Stephanie Curtis with help from Carlos with a Sanyo Dan gorenstein Nicole Joyner and Jennifer Webb key. The managing editor of American radio works is Stephen Smith project manager Nancy Fusion. I'm build using Burt major funding for revisiting Vietnam is provided by the Stanley Foundation major funding for American radio works is provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Florence and John Schumann foundation with additional support from the John D & Catherine T MacArthur Foundation. Four more in our two part series revisiting Vietnam visit our website American radio works. Org. You can also order tapes of both special reports by sending $25 to MPR tapes 45 East 7th Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101. American radio works is the national documentary unit of Minnesota Public Radio in cooperation with NPR National Public Radio. Well that does it for our mid-day program today. By the way, if you miss the part of today's program Vietnam a nation not a war we will be rebroadcast in this program at 9 tonight near on Minnesota Public Radio and at least should also note that on Saturday special broadcast starting at 2 to Saturday afternoon will be rebroadcast. Both parts of the revisiting Vietnam series from American radio works also will be rebroadcasting the testimony of John Kerry who is done with the Vietnam veterans against the war now a US senator testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in 1971 that attracted so much attention so that special broadcast coming up from 2 to 5 this Saturday here on Minnesota Public Radio as we Mark the end of the Vietnam War. Mark April 29th the 101st anniversary of the birth of Duke Ellington celebrate the Duke Saturday night at 7 via the Jazz image year on Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities that know 91.1 FM. You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. We have a partly cloudy sky 67° at Kennedy FM 91.1 Minneapolis. And st. Paul. You're also to Indian Southwestern Minnesota 2K nsw 91.7 FM Worthington partly cloudy in the cities through the afternoon with a high near 70 good chance for rain then tonight and probably tomorrow, too.