Only six weeks before South Vietnam's unconditional surrender to the North, I was in Saigon with fellow Plain Truth staff member Roger Lippross. It was our first trip to Southeast Asia, and our South Vietnam leg of the journey was especially impressionable. I guess we expected to find a worthless patch of real estate – fetid swamps and tangled jungles scarred by bombs, scorched by napalm and stained by generations of human blood. (Pardon my ignorance, but I'm a 12-year veteran of a TV war.) We expected to find grandfather, father and son (if still alive) weary, sick at heart and immobilized by war. I'm sure many Americans felt this way. After just a few days in and around Saigon, however, it didn't take a mental giant to realize what a beautiful and bountiful land the North Vietnamese were after. South Vietnam is a rich agricultural land, well cultivated and even capable of exporting rice. Driving along the roads, we were reminded of the Philippines, or even Hawaii. The fields were abundant with tropical crops, such as sweet potatoes, peanuts and sugar cane.
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