Vietnamese-American Peace Park Project

Origins of the Vietnamese-American Peace Park
Vietnamese-American Peace Park dedication

Ambassador's Visit to the Peace Park
Vietnamese-American Peace Park groundbreaking
My Lai Peace Park Project

Origins of the Vietnamese-American Peace Park

"The Peace park is unique because elsewhere in the
world people remind the younger generations of the horror
of war by building war monuments. We are changing that
tradition by building a monument to peace."
--Gen. Pham Hong Son

In 1989 Morley Safer and a 60 Minutes crew traveled to Viet Nam to produce a
piece called 'The Enemy'. Many high-ranking Vietnamese officials were interviewed
but the man who caught the heart of the American people was a professor of
English in Ha Noi named Nguyen Ngoc Hung. Even though he fought for six
years during the war with the Americans Prof. Hung projected a
compassionate even charismatic image and as a result was invited to come
to the US in 1990 on a tour promoting peace, friendship and
reconciliation. One city he visited was Madison, Wisconsin. From there
he was taken by local veterans to the Highground, Wisconsin's Viet Nam
veterans memorial. Of the many powerful monuments at the Highground the
one that affected Prof. Hung the most was the Dove Mound. During the
, John Beaudin (Wa Kanja Hoohega), a Native American
and veteran of the war in Viet Nam, spoke about the meaning of the mound.
"It is a spiritual place where you can go and let your mother, the Earth, hold
you. Let the children play on it. Dance on it. Use it to unload your
grief and pain, to renew and strengthen you. Lay back in the soft fold
of it's wings and let Mother Earth unburden you. Then get up and leave
your troubles and cares there on the mound, as you walk away renewed and

Dove Mound
This grass-covered earthen mound is about 110 feet wingtip-to-wingtip. It's
design was inspired by Native American effigy mounds. Prof. Hung was
taken to the mound and, after a captured NVA flag was returned to him,
he was told the purpose of the Dove Mound. The American veterans told
him that the Dove Mound was a powerful source of healing for them; that
it was a place to go to leave the pain of the war behind, to remember
friends who had died during the war and it was a place to remember
friends who were still missing in Viet Nam. After hearing this Prof.
Hung went to the Dove Mound, burned incense and said a prayer for his
younger brother, one of Viet Nam's more than 300,000 missing-in-action.
His prayer had a profound impact on the American veterans there that
In 1993, Mike Boehm heard that Prof. Hung was coming to the US
again and arranged for him to speak in Madison. His motives for this
were to give some balance to what the people of Madison were hearing
about the war in Viet Nam. While organizing Prof. Hung's schedule Boehm
heard for the first time about Prof. Hung's visit to the Highground and
the profound affect it had on both Prof. Hung and the American veterans.
Boehm was so inspired by this event that he felt that this was what the
people of Viet Nam and the US needed, a Peace Park, which would give
the people of both countries a way to communicate on a deep, emotional
and spiritual level. When he proposed the idea to Prof. Hung, Prof. Hung
agreed and said he had wanted this since his visit to the Highground in
1990. And so the idea of the Vietnamese-American Peace Park was created.

The Vietnamese-American Peace Park Today

Since the dedication ceremony of the Vietnamese-American Peace Park on
November 11, 1995 Hom Hill, the site of the park, has been completely terraced
and planted with over a thousand trees, mostly Lychee and Longan fruit trees. A
well has been dug at the base of the hill and water is pumped to a cistern on top of
the hill. A dove has been created on the slope of the hill outlined by a low brick wall
and a beautiful eight-sided gazebo has been built on top of the hill.

We will be planting more trees soon and constructing a small historical museum.

The local villagers have now seen the profitability of planting fruit trees and so we will
begin a program of providing fruit tree seedlings, fertilizer and training for them to grow
their own fruit trees.

In addition to the foreign delegations which have visited the Peace Park delegations of
Vietnamese, inspired by the hope the Vietnamese-American Peace Park represents, have
come from all over Viet Nam to visit the park. Teachers bring their students on field trips to
the Peace Park. For the first day of Tet, 1999, the Poetry Society of Bac Giang came to
the top of the hill to compose poetry which they read to each other there on the hill.

Origins of the Vietnamese-American Peace Park