The Reunification Tree
While visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, I decided to swing by the Reunification Palace. I figured that if the city planners did such a great job with the layout, and the parks were impeccably designed, that a building with such a name would be awe-inspiring. What I discovered was a rather nondescript office building, set on nicely manicured lawns, with a huge fountain in front, and a few deactivated tanks. I was not expecting this, but I kept exploring the grounds. I did find this magical-looking tree residing on a side lawn to be a perfect representation of what I had in mind regarding the historical significance of where I was standing: the place where the Vietnam War ended on April 30th, 1975. This tree looked as if it was unifying the earth and the sky. It looked like it had been there forever, and it had seen more history and had more tales to tell than anyone I had ever known. With roots firmly entrenched it the earth, and branches thrust towards the sky, I thought this tree captured the spirit of the city I was visiting: Firmly rooted in its cultural past, yet constantly moving forward to an ever bright future.
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
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135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
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