“My youth is over: Fire, smoke and war have robbed my youth of the happiness of love,” she writes “The 20-year-olds of this generation have given away the dreams and happiness which they should have had. My youth is soaked with sweat, tears, blood and the bones of those living and those already dead.”
The Americans attack on June 22. One GI reported later to Whitehurst that the doctor tried to fight off the heavily armed soldiers with a single-shot rifle.
There were no Vietnamese survivors to tell her story; the five wounded guerrillas were killed with her. But her remains, buried by villagers and turned over to the family in 1976, also indicate that she stood her ground.
“When I went to pick up her bones, I saw a bullet hole in her forehead,” Dang Kim Tram said. “I imagine that she would pick up a gun. I know for sure that she faced the enemy.”
Four days before her death, Dang Thuy Tram seems to recognize that the end is near.
“When you live like this, then you understand the value of life,” she writes. “Oh, life changed by blood and bones, by the youth of so many people, how many lives have ended in order to allow other lives to be fresh and green?”
A journal written by a young woman doctor named Dang Thuy Tram during the Vietnam struggle is now a bestseller in Vietnam. Had internet been available then, I am sure she would have blogged these experiences: