War Remnants Museum – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

The War Remnants Museum is a great site to learn more about the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective. It has several well-preserved tanks, jets, helicopters, machine guns and various heavy artillery from the 1960s-70s. Visitors can enjoy viewing its rich collection of war remnants, black and white photos and illustrations that depict the events of the Vietnam War in its gallery.

War Remnants Museum - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
War Remnants Museum – Ho Chi Minh

Exploring The War Remnants Museum

This is the first attraction that we visited during our trip to Vietnam. My wife and I love watching war movies and we’ve seen Vietnam War movies like Full Metal Jacket, We Were Soldiers and Born on the Fourth of July. Forrest Gump has a long scene related to the Vietnam War as well. Stepping into Vietnam and seeing those war machines first hand gives me a mixed feeling.

Tank and Helicopter
M48 Tank and Boeing CH-47 Chinook

As a kid, I used to have toy soldiers, tanks and jets. I even gave our son the same kind of toys later. Several of the video games that we played are related to modern warfare as well. This made me fascinated to see the real thing and I was happy to see them for the first time at the War Remnants Museum. On the other hand, these might seem fun and exciting as games but quite sad and horrific in reality.

U. S. Jet fighters that were left behind during the Vietnam War
F-5A Jet Fighter & U-17 Plane

At the end of the day, they’re all instruments of death which can lead to lost loved ones and children becoming orphans. It’s unfortunate that humans had to invent something that can destroy humans. When in the hands of the right people, they’re good resources that protect and save the people but it’s a nightmare every time it gets to the wrong hands.

Mother of all weapons at the War Remnants Museum
M107 Gun

As long as freedom and peace-loving people continue to innovate and excel in the military league—most of the world will be protected from tyrants and oppressors.

 

Inside the Museum

We made a mistake in coming here late because we missed the chance to enter their museum. It’s free to explore the surrounding area and see the war machines but the museum requires an entrance ticket and it closes at 5:00 PM. We were able to have a peek from its glass door and saw some images and quotes. I checked further online to see more about what we missed inside the museum and I found out that management didn’t hold back in putting graphic images inside the museum.

War Remnants Museum Entrance
The facade of the War Remnants Museum

It’s quite a melancholic gallery with several depictions of sorrow and devastation. There were some exhibits that are too brutal to mention. This is one of the places where you can get a better idea about the real face of war. You’ll also see here how consequences continued for a long time even the war already ended.

Black and white photo at War Remnants Museum
A poor boy exploring a burned forest after the war

It’s inevitable to see quotes that are in favor of the current government. The chart that shows Vietnam’s military strength against the United States is displayed to show the great disparity yet they managed to win the war. There’s also an illustration of the number of bombs that were dropped in Vietnam on a yearly basis. One note states that 3 million Vietnamese were killed, 2 million people got injured and 300,000 people missing.

 

Vietnam War Thoughts

American war crimes were clearly emphasized in the museum and it reminded me of the American war atrocities here in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. Vietnam also had a great struggle with the French occupation in the past the way we had our struggle with the Spanish occupation and atrocities.

War bulldozer
D7 Bulldozer

The My Lai massacre shows how some American troops are in conflict with one another. Thanks to the Army Major Hugh Thompson Jr. further deaths were stopped during the massacre. The ones responsible for the crime were court-martialed and imprisoned. More incidents like those could have happened during the war.

Armed boat
Military boat the machine gun

 

American Liberation

Despite the atrocities of the Americans in the past, they have proven to be the force of freedom globally. They have learned from their past mistakes and continuously makes an effort to correct and prevent them. No one can deny that they helped liberate several countries during World War II. If it wasn’t for the Americans, the Philippines might still be under Japanese rule.

Vietnam War bombs and Ammos
Heavy artillery Ammos and bombs

Who can dispute the clear contrast in the Korean peninsula? After the Americans helped liberate South Korea, we can see how it flourished and become a first world country despite their poverty after the war. It could have been the situation in South Vietnam. It’s sad that despite America’s noble intention of helping Vietnam, some of the American officers decided to act foul and cruel which ruined the purpose.

Vietnam War canon
105MM Howitzer

Just last 2017, the Americans helped the Philippines defeat the terrorist group ISIS in the Marawi province. It’s great that they were also able to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq but the fight against terrorism isn’t over. New groups will emerge as long as there are people who are adhering to their extreme ideology. Like South Korea, we don’t have any resources that would benefit the Americans. Gen. Douglas McArthur convinced their government that it’s their moral duty to help us.

CH-47 Chinook at War Remnants Museum
My moment at the CH-47 Chinook

After seeing the anti-American sentiments in the War Remnants Museum, I can’t help but recall how the Filipinos owe a lot from the Americans. Unlike in Vietnam, our citizens don’t suffer government grave abuse and oppression. We’re enjoying Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. But like the fall of the Berlin Wall, I hope to see the day that the Vietnamese will enjoy the same freedom that we’re currently enjoying.

 

War Remnants Museum Info

Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC
Entrance Fee: 40,000.00 Dong
– 50% Off for students, armed forces, veterans, senior officials of the revolution.
– Free for war invalids and martyrs’ families, children under 6 years of age and children in remote areas.

Schedule:
It’s open every day including holidays.
Opening Hours: 7:30 AM to 12 NN and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Guided Tour Contacts:
Phone: (84-4) 39302112
Email: [email protected]
http://warremnantsmuseum.com/

 

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