The North Vietnamese side of this story is adapted partially from the book “Novel Without A Name” by Duong Thu Huong. She was an entertainer for the Northern soldiers on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and one of the few who survived from her troupe.
An old American soldier from the Viet Nam War is flying into Hanoi. His Vietnamese wife has recently died and he is returning in search of her sister. As the plane begins its approach, he scans the countryside of endless green from the window. His mind drifts into memories as the stories begin.
As the war in Vietnam draws down in 1975, the lives of an American GI, CAPT. EDWARD WINSLOW, and a troubled North Vietnamese soldier, QUAN, converge during the evacuation and fall of Da Nang. The soldier from the North has endured immeasurable hardship during the previous ten years, many described in flashbacks, much of it through a beautiful countryside before the destruction caused by US bombing. There have been horrendous battles. His girl back home, HOA, is probably gone.
The GI is ‘stuck’ in Viet Nam. It’s become his home, and he’s involved with a girl from the North, LIEN, who works the bars. At this point he is an adviser to the South Vietnamese military. They all still fight, but the cause is fading….looking bleak. Refugees from cities north of Da Nang fill the highways leading into the city. Chaos reigns, as no one seems to be in charge. The Americans begin an evacuation to the south of all who can board the last aircraft, ship, or road vehicle. World Airways flies in for a last flight south to Saigon and barely makes it off the ramp. The last attempts from the air are made from the Marble Mountain airfield. The overflowing barges from the river in town have left for ships in the South China Sea. The last stragglers are swimming toward the ships from My Khe Beach.
|With Duong Thu Huong in Thai Binh, 1996|
Amid the confusion the American soldier tries to arrange transport out for his ‘Vietnamese family. He is abandoned and captured by the North Vietnamese Army. A younger officer, his superior MAJOR BARNS, a helicopter pilot, fills in arranging what he can. Most Vietnamese personnel of the Americans are left to their own devices. There’s no other choice. The Major doesn’t leave. He manages to crank up his old Huey after Da Nang has fallen. He’ll fly to Saigon, but scours the countryside to the south looking for his friend Winslow, and finds him.
In present day Hanoi, Edward Winslow ties up with a friend from the US State Dept. who now works at the US Embassy. He eventually finds the sister and they begin to talk of the past, each so differently. They meet up a few times in the countryside, then in Hanoi. They strike up a friendship….dig into their pasts in the old Viet Nam. They discover things unknown.
Hanoi is peaceful.