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VVAW Library Project Begins Construction
By Chuck Thuesch
Construction on the VVAW/Pho Vinh Middle School Library in Duc Pho, Quang Ngai is finally taking off. After delays due to a site change and the pandemic, we are happy to see the progress of this long-awaited project, and hope the monsoon interruptions will remain minimal.
The free-standing, two-story library being built is next to the current middle school and will serve its needs. VVAW's funding also includes money for some books, a computer, and a printer. After completion, the Ministry of Culture will donate more to the library on an annual basis. VVAW has also expressed interest in funding a full computer lab here, as they did at the high school at My Lai in 2018.
The site is 30 minutes south of My Lai/Son My. During wartime, this was near the Demilitarized Zone (17th Parallel/Ben Hai River) separating old North and South—Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh Provinces. These central locations are heavy with war legacy effects. They are also at the very heart of the monsoon targets coming off the South China Sea (known in Vietnam as the East Sea).
Because of the legacy of the war waged on the people of Vietnam, site clearance for unexploded bombs, small arms ammunition, shells, and Agent Orange contamination is a standard part of the preparation procedure throughout what was South Vietnam, even in 2021. This was done at the current site when the school was built. The ground had to be checked and cleared again before the commencement of the work for the VVAW Library.
Rural labor in Vietnam hearkens back to the USA of the 1930s. The progress, rooted in sweat and commitment to a brighter future, is embodied in these photos.
Thanks to VVAW for this project. Monsoons, hard labor, War Legacy Site Clearance, recent Covid-19 restrictions—all present challenges unique to old South Vietnam's quest for a brighter future in the rural areas.
Thanks to Mr. Long, Director of the Quang Ngai Fund For Children and Project Manager. We will keep you posted as the VVAW Library goes forward.
Chuck Theusch is a Vietnam Veteran of the US Army, 4/3 Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, Vietnam 1969-70. He is the founder/CEO of the Library of Vietnam Project.
Groundbreaking for Library - July 22, 2021.