Vietnamese Children During War–A Look at History and Culture

I always have an irresistible taste for anything related to women and children. At a late night study, I stumbled upon these startling photographs in a not-very-up-to-expectation article called “Moving images of Vietnamese children during war.” Not many details about these artworks were mentioned but I’d still like to share around some of these “talkable” and soulful pictures. They were taken by foreign photographers and reporters during the Vietnam War I believe. If you know any further details/information or have any thoughts/comments, feel free to share!

I solely enjoy and refer to this as an artwork that reveals to us some pages of history and culture. I hope you’ll find yourself in sync with me 🙂

A look at the article:

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ― Mahatma Gandhi


Sidewalk Survivors—

With combat at the front abated, this young Saigon on the sidewalks of what was one the “Paris of the Orient.” The plastic cup is for money from passersby. The battered crib is an old American C-rations Container. (AP Wirephoto)”

–Saigon 1965-1975—

Can you see their hands are reaching for each other’s? Family is our hope and hold, family heals our souls no matter what happens.

Vietnamese proverb:

“Anh em như thể tay chân

Rách lành đùm bọc, dở hay đỡ đần.”


Brothers are like arm and leg/Torn or healed we nourish; thick or thin we shelter.


Child’s Play—

It’s only a toy, but this Saigon youngster shoulders his Christmas present like a professional soldier as he struts along a sidewalk. Modeled after the M16, the South Vietnamese army’s main weapon, it is one of the most often purchased toys in Saigon. (AP Wirephoto Via Cable From London)”

–Saigon 1973–

My father once told me a very popular piece of poem written by famous Vietnamese poet To Huu during his time:


“Mẹ ơi súng đẹp quá chừng!

Con đi đánh giặc mẹ đừng lo chi.”


“Mommy how beautiful this gun is!

I go fight the enemy, Mommy please don’t worry.”

Gun was something people cherished in the past since it was not only their weapon but also symbol of valor during battle time. Nowadays, children around the world are strictly taught to stay away from any kind of artillery.


Hanoi Street Scene—

Children play on sidewalk in Hanoi recently. (AP Wirephoto)”

Second in a series of five photos by Alma De Luce

Hanoi 1975

In the past and even now in Vietnamese rural and remote areas, playing with leaves, chopsticks or any other natural/daily objects that children can collect is still a widely seen “custom.” In this picture, I think they are playing game sales. (according to that little scale the boy is holding and a bunch of leaves regarded as goods or money.)


Innocent faces of youngsters at Go Vap Orphanage in Saigon. (date unknown)

We always need a smile like this no matter how life would be because “Whatever will be, will be.”


“Banding together for the buck—

This trio of youngsters walk through Saigon where they make music as the Itty-Bitty Gritty Dirt Band, singing for their supper lunch and breakfast. Leader of the “band” is guitarist Nguyen Van Truc, nicknamed Cu Ly, 14, left, who totes up the day’s receipts. With him are his brother, Nguyen Van Luom, 10, the drummer, right background, and their cousin, Nguyen Van Chanh, 11, the tambourine player. (AP Wirephoto)”

–Saigon 1973—


Playing under a handicap—

A 12-year-old South Vietnamese boy, who lost part of his right leg in an explosion, shows he still is an agile ball player despite his handicap. The boy is a patient at the British-run Save the Children Home in Qui Nhon, 250 miles north of Saigon. (AP Wirephoto).”

–Qui Nhon 1969–

Handicapped or not, humans are strong and complete in their own way. No one and nothing can deprive us of the right to live and enjoy life to its fullest.


“Young boys looked through the barbed-wire fence which surrounds a military compound in Vietnam. They live near the temporary Special Forces camp in Tri Ton, 100 miles southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta—A.P. wirephoto.”

–Tri Ton 1968–

These are indeed “Vietnamese smiles” that I want to see everyday. Your teeth may be decaying but your willingness to smile will start a “smile disease” hell out of the others.


Schoolgirls in Vietnamese traditional white áo dài. (date unknown)

In the past, the traditional school uniform included white áo dài and long, wide-legged black trousers.

More about áo dài:


Bath time! Anyone wanna join us? 😀

I used to bath like this in the front yard of my grandmother’s house in Hue. When we are young, life contains no barriers and everything is possible.


“Listen up – there’s no war that will end all wars.” ― Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore

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