Veteran finds healing as he hosts Vietnam TV crew in Fort Worth

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 9:48 AM

FORT WORTH — A television crew from Vietnam watched ranch horses compete Thursday in advance of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Since 2014 is the year of the horse on the Chinese calendar, the journalists visited the site to experience a place where every year is the year of the horse.  

However, one journalist in the crew was linked to their guide by another year and a different story.

"It is best if you speak in Vietnamese for us," one reporter joked as he interviewed a female rider.

The hats and spurs were all new to the journalists. However, they were in good hands with a guide to explain such things as the nuance of a ranch versatility challenge.

"When I was 20 years old on the battlefield, I never dreamed I would be sitting beside the son of my former enemy,” said Paul Reed, a veteran wounded in Vietnam.

The lead member of the crew says his father named him after the communist lifeline Americans called the Ho Chi Minh trail.

"My full name is Ngo Truong Son," the journalist said. "Ngo means my family name.”

He grew up in Hanoi, but has been the Washington bureau chief for Vietnam TV for about six months.

"Tell him about how when you were younger you asked your dad about the war," Reed said while leaning toward Son. "What he did in the war."

Son said he asked his father many questions, but got few answers.

"'Did you kill anyone? How many did you kill?' My father don't say anything," he said. "He did not answer."

Reed can identify with that silence. He struggled for years with PTSD. Healing didn’t really begin until the mid 90s, when he went to North Vietnam. He carried a diary and photos he found in an enemy camp in 1968 on a battlefield in Kontum.

Reed was stunned to find the owner, a North Vietnamese veteran, still alive. The story became the book and documentary "Kontum Diary."

News 8 was there in 1996 when Reed brought his former enemy to Dallas for medical care. 

"Reconciliation and forgiveness is wonderful," he said. "It can bring a lot of peace to your heart."

Which is why he wants to help the Vietnamese journalists bring two very different worlds a little closer with a simple story from Texas in the year of the horse.

"That's been my journey all along since coming home needing healing myself," he said. "That's been my journey."

Email jdouglas@wfaa.com
    

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