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Obama in Vietnam Will Focus on Future, Rather Than the Past.
- Publication : 18 Mai 2016
New York Times - White House Letter By GARDINER HARRIS MAY 15, 2016
President Obama arrived at Newark International Airport on Sunday.
Mr. Obama will visit Hanoi next Sunday. Credit Zach Gibson/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The pictures will be unavoidable, and the flood of painful memories unstoppable.
When President Obama lands next Sunday in Hanoi, his visit will be chronicled by photographers, cameramen and journalists who will track every public move of only the third presidential visit to Vietnam since the end of the American war there.
Mr. Obama’s former defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, said he is already bracing for the onslaught of recollections those pictures and articles are likely to inspire.
“I know those images will hit me,” said Mr. Hagel, whose 12 months as a soldier in Vietnam remain the defining period of his life, despite the subsequent years as both a senator and a cabinet secretary. “They’re going to make it all come back.”
For Mr. Obama, the trip to Vietnam offers an opportunity to help solidify not only his promised pivot of American policy toward Asia, but also to deepen economic and security ties with an increasingly important regional player.
But for the United States’ Vietnam War veterans, a presidential trip to the country where many of them lost their youth, innocence and some of their closest friends is weighted with powerful emotions and never-ending debates about that war’s consequences.