We didn't have any look in finding a bus to take us to Quang Ngai, so we had an early start and had to hail down 2 motorbikes for them to take us to the catch the local bus. Neither of us were happy with this as we didn't feel very comfortable with all our bags on the back of a bike, but the taxi's were really expensive. We arrived safely anyway, well when i say arrived, we had to flag a bus down from the side of the main road, luckily the motorbike men were really helpful and did this for us and on our third attempt at stopping a bus we got lucky. We got on the bus, and then...the bus wouldn't start again, it took them abiut 15 minutes to get the engine started and then the journey began, the bus drivers in Vietnam do not slow down or stop for anyone, its a case of honking their horn and everything gets out of the way. We were sat at the front of the bus so could see everything, not a good place but we got to Quang Ngai with no problems.
When we arrived in Quang Ngai (again it was at the side of the road) an old man came up to us and asked us if we wanted to go to Son My Village, we did so he stored our bags for the afternoon and we went on the back of motorbikes to Son My village to visit the My Lai museum.
Again this is not a place where many tourists come, it wasn't an enjoyable day, but definately a memorable and informative one. Quang Ngai had a long tradition of resistance against the French, which grew even stronger during American involvement. In response to this and the fear that Viet Cong were hiding in this area the region suffered some of the most extensive bombing during the war and by 1967 70% of villages in the towns surrounding areas had been destroyed.
On March 16th 1968 US intelligence told one of their companies on the ground that Viet Cong were hiding in My Lai village and to sweep through the province killing everyone they came across, so that is what they did. 500 people were killed in total in the space of 4 hours. 379 of them were women and children, the rest were elderly men. Not one shot was fired back at the Americans during this 4 hours, and their were no Viet Cong anywhere to be seen. All the young men of the village were no where to be seen and what the Americans found were unarmed families, but they followed their orders and killed everyone that was there, they even threw people into trenches and fired at them. 'The My Lai Massacre' had occured. The museum was quite upsetting, especially seeing photos of what had happened ( yes the us sent a photographer to record everything). A few months after this happened the US realised what they had done was a mistake so went back to try and cover the mess up! Obviously the museum was all one sided, but it was still unbelievable that this could happen, even during war.
Our guide lived in My Lai now and it was interesting to hear the stories from someone who's grandparents were killed in the massacre, again very upsetting but it brought realism to it. The garden around the museum still retains its scars with bullet holes in the trees, foundations of homes burnt down each with a stone tablet recording its family's losses. This was the worst thing America did during the War and when people found out about the massacre teh US had lost the war on a moral level.
However, on reading a bit more into the massacre, the GI's were told that all civilians would have left the village by the time they arrived, and they had been losing men daily to Viet Cong in the area. They were just following orders, which is what they were trained to do, why they didn't use their common sense and see that their informationa and orders were incorrect, no one knows.
We both left Son My Village feeling somber, but glad we made the visit as we learnt a bit more about whay the country had been through during the war.