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1973: Vietnam - 'America's painful was journey over'

Briton Dennis Reynard was working for an American bank in Vietnam in 1973.

He was 25 and on his first posting overseas when the ceasefire was announced on 23 January.

My bank had a contract to provide basic banking services to the US military and I had worked all over South Vietnam: Pleiku, Chu Lai, Phan Rang, Saigon, Da Nang, Nga Trang and Can Tho.

At the time of the peace declaration I had just returned from the Mekong Delta where I had been stationed on the Can Tho Army base.

I was living at 122 Lei Van Zhuyet in an old colonial villa and was working at the Saigon headquarters of the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam.

The entire population (local and foreign) had been following the Paris Peace talks and when the final breakthrough came it was an immense relief.

America's long and painful adventure was over and we would all soon be going home.

When I finally managed to get a call through to my mother - who was living outside Newmarket in the UK - she was ecstatic that I was safe.

The atmosphere that morning was electric: the cathedral bells were ringing and people were smiling and happy and relieved following the radio announcements.

Sacrifice

I don't remember dancing in the street type celebrations, just quiet dignified relief - the South Vietnamese had lost thousands in the war and not a single family had been untouched.

I stayed on in Saigon until April that year when the bank transferred me to its New York Head Office in Manhattan where I stayed for four years.

Vietnam was my first posting overseas. I have read much about America's war in the country and I think now the American people have come to terms with what happened there.

Most importantly they appreciate the sacrifice made by all those young soldiers who answered the bugle call - and will answer it again and again.

In Context
Dennis Reynard never returned to live in Britain after his stint in Vietnam.

He is now on his 15th overseas posting in Italy.


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