“Historian Marilyn B. Young says the [Vietnam] war’s aftermath included 879,000 orphans, 181,000 disabled people, 1 million widows, 1.5 million farm animals killed, and 25 million acres of farmland and 12 million acres of forest destroyed.
Tons of still unexploded ordnance sowed everywhere guaranteed that killing and maiming would continue for decades. So did the 19 million gallons of herbicide sprayed on the South during the war, leaving vast swaths of chemically poisoned soil and foliage that would lead to multiple miscarriages, and, more than twenty-five years later, to continuing serious birth defects and cancers.
All these carried the memories and damage of the war into the future. The young Amerasians, with their half-American features and their racially mixed backgrounds—already a taboo in Vietnam’s racially homogenous culture—also represented reminders of that war.”
–from Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War by Trin Yarborough
Since the Vietnam War, the United States has engaged in multiple armed conflicts, from the Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the current fight against ISIS, and all of these engagements have happened or are currently taking place on foreign land. This project takes a closer look at the treatment of women—often sexually exploited during a U.S. occupation—in the aftermath of war. Drawing on various resources, but in particular, belongings of my father from his time in the service, I’m weaving an extended meditation on the personal effects of the Vietnam War on my family, alongside the larger idea of systemic militarization in U.S. culture.
Through images, text, and sound, the project is a portrait written specifically to my father’s (potentially) first-born child, an Amerasian who was conceived during his time in the military. Quoted material and stories of Amerasians who survived the war are pulled from various texts listed on the [Sources] page.
The images used are from my father’s personal collection, unless otherwise noted. If you or anyone you know have information regarding my father, Robert “Gus” Andrews, his time served in the military, or his first-born child, please contact me at k [dot] lorraine [dot] andrews [at] gmail.com.