Points of reference

I was listening to an NPR broadcast Sunday about Vietnam.  I don’t remember much about the substance of the story, but there was one line that sticks with me.    The reporter said that less than half the people of Vietnam are old enough to have any first-hand memories of the war with the United States.  The reporter seemed to be implying that Vietnam’s attitude toward the United States is shaped by things that have happened during more recent history.  Later Sunday, I watched a program on one of the cable sports network.  Its title:  “Baseball’s Golden Age”.  It’s a series.  Tonight’s segment dealt with center fielders Duke Snider of the Dodgers, Willie Mays of the Giants and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees.  Various people gave their opinion about which of the three was the greatest.  My choice, Joe Dimaggio of the Yankees,  was not included in the debate..   On the field, Dimaggio was the best.  I recognize that my preference is heavily biased toward my point of reference…the time when I was moving into my teenage years.     For another point of reference, watch some of the movies that were made during and about World War II.  It never occurred to me that the enemy, the Japanese, would become what they are today to the United States.  The point of my “point of reference” is that our experiences shape our attitudes.  They evolve or some might say regress as new generations are influenced by new points of reference.  In Vietnam, perhaps that will be a good thing.

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