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The Vietnam War is one of the fiercest wars that the United States of America has ever been involved in as an sole nation in modern history. This war was fought during the 1960s. The stakes of the war were high and as a result, a lot of properties were destroyed, many individuals lost their lives and many more had serious injuries.
The war also had a lot of psychological impacts on all those individuals who were directly or indirectly affected by its impacts. These included Vietnamese soldiers, war volunteers, doctors, politicians and the natives and the US soldiers. Thuy, the author of the book, Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, was among those individuals who were psychologically affected by the war. She was a young girl in her mid 20s who had just started practicing her medical her career.
However, in the course of the war, she had to ensure that her fellow citizens received quality medical care. At the same time, she was torn with her personal life as she was looking for love. The book was based on the entries that she had made on her diary. The main aim of this essay therefore is to critically analyze her thoughts as they were presented in the book and expound on the lessons learned from her encounters.
Lessons Learned from the Book
There are several lessons that I have learned after reading the book. However, for the ease of explanation and expression, all these lessons can be simplified into one main lesson: the importance of patriotism. In the world that we are currently living in, almost all the countries are sovereign states.
All these countries have an independent government, a head of the state, a military to defend its boundaries, a constitution to govern the conduct of its subjects and the citizens who make the bulk of the nation or state. It is the citizens who are the main reason why the nation has a constitution, a head of state and a military to protect them from internal or external attacks.
Due to this fact, it is essential for an individual to have love for his/her nation and be ready to protect it at all times regardless of the cost that he/she has to pay. Most importantly, it is essential for an individual to be loyal to his/her state.
Dang Thuy exhibited a good example on the extent to which individuals should to loyal to their states. From the records of her diary, it is evident that she loved her country and would go to any extent to defend it. In 1966, Thuy joined other volunteers of the Vietnam War and to against the Americans.
The 25 year old took her backpack, filled it with medical supplies and set off to treat individuals who were injured in the process of the war. This included the soldiers who were fighting against the Americans and other civilians who were victims of circumstances. For three years, Thuy continued to offer her services to her people, risking her life each and every day. She was ready to go to any extent to ensure that her people received quality health services.
Despite the love that she has for her nation and the effort that she had put into place to ensure that all her personal goals of freedom and peace have been achieved, Thuy was also fighting hard with her emotions. Like any other human being, she felt that for her life to be complete, she should love someone and receive love from that individual in return. In the book, she says: “Why is a wound in my heart so hard to heal?” (Thuy 97).
She goes ahead to explain that while at school, many boys fell in love with her and even in the course of the war, most of the soldiers whom she had treated had fell in love with her. However, what she felt for them was brotherly love and that is why she cared that much for them hence is risked her life (Thuy 115).
In the process of providing her services to these individuals, Thuy risks her life as she fled from one village to the next while constructing mobile clinics that she used as a hospital to treat her fellow kinsmen. This put her life at risk since it is such clinics that the US army sought for their attacks. She says, “This is war… it spares no one, not a baby or an old woman, and the most hideous thing about it is the bloodthirsty Americans,” (Thuy 149).
Thuys clinics were destroyed on numerous occasions. She was forced to evacuate her staff and patients in the process and construct a new shelter on safer grounds. These were the actions of an individual who truly loved her country and was ready to protect it and its citizens at any cost.
The efforts that Thuy put for her nation in during the Vietnam War were remarkable. They showed the amount of patriotism that she had for her nation. I therefore feel that we should all have the same level of patriotism for our countries. This will ensure that we will live in peace and harmony and protect the nations that we seek allegiance to at all costs.
Thuy, Dang. Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram. Boston: Harmony Books, 2007. Print