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Women with guns, then and now

While I was down in Nha Trang last week, I shot this photograph of a mom on the city beach, in front of the soon-to-be-completed Sheraton, carrying her toddler's toy plastic M-16 while he went for a swim.

Mother on beach in Nha Trang

I took it mainly, I think, because she immediately reminded me of this great photo taken by North Vietnamese photographer Mai Nam for Hanoi Tien Phong newspaper in 1968, and collected in Tim Page's Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side:

Militiawoman in Ha Tay Province, 1968. Photo: Mai Nam.

I think I, like other Americans when they're here, still run around with echoes of this imagery in the back of my head much of the time. I don't think most Vietnamese do, and certainly not younger folks. Older people, maybe, though few talk about it much.