Living in Vietnam is like looking through the history books. Vietnam is a beautiful place where the people are great and the country is breathtaking. However, when people hear the country, Vietnam they automatically think of the Vietnam War, also known as the American War. We’ve been to more than 20 cities in Vietnam and each city has its own sense of uniqueness.
Saigon is special. Not only is Vietnam known for the war, but it is also known for a Buddhist monk who made a huge statement for religious freedom and equality. On June 11, 1963, Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire and burned himself to death to protest against the Roman Catholic persecution. More than 40 years later you can still see the impact he left on Vietnam. An impressive statue that lights up at night and a memorial represents this event and the monk on the corner of Cách mạng tháng 8 and Điện Biên Phủ in Saigon. Many people pay their respects to him everyday. History is all around us. This seems to be especially true in Vietnam.
The last words of Thích Quảng Đức before his self-immolation were documented in a letter he had left:
“Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sanghaand the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism.”