January 27, 2012 - Vietnam Peace Day

On this date in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords arranged a ceasefire to take place on midnight, officially ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. This 20-year war was devastating to the people—not just the armies, but the Vietnamese civilians—and the environment of Vietnam, as napalm and defoliants burned and destroyed plant life.

How has Vietnam recovered from the war?

Well, it is considered a success story because the economy continues to grow each year. Vietnam exports oil and agricultural products. Tourists visit and spend money in the country. New forests are being planted. Still, there is a lot of poverty in Vietnam, and there is disagreement about planting exotic trees (that is, trees that usually grow elsewhere) that are good for the lumber industry, or planting native trees and trying to return to the natural pre-war forest.

Vietnam has its beauties, especially along the coast, as you can see in this and this other slide show.

Find out more about Vietnam at the Kids National Geographic site. Or check out the links Mr. Donn has gathered here.

Also on this date:

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