Journey to Forgiveness: A U.S. Vet in Vietnam


What is forgiveness? After war or trauma, how do people people heal and take the journey to forgivness? Journey to Forgiveness in Vietnam seeks to explore and understand the Journey of Forgivness and reconciliation by Vietnamese, Americans, and others affected by the war. 

Namaya, a US Veteran, along with the B4Peace Team (a Project of GRACE Cares), need your support to continue their work of educating people and facilitating healing after war, so that there can be a peaceful future throughout the world.

The National Flower of Vietnam is the Lotus, symbolizing commitment and optimism for the future.


During the first few weeks of January, Namaya and Zoe Kopp photographed and interviewed people throughout Vietnam and document their stories and examine the process of being able to forgive; both for older generations who personally experienced the war and for younger people who do not have this connection. This is a continuation of Namaya’s work on forgiveness and his multiyear art and performance project called Pornography of War - the Impact of War and Militarism on society.

The project is helping educate people about the impact of war and the Journey to Forgiveness. The B4Peace team was joined by the President of GRACE Cares Dean Gallea, in early February, after the team began dicussions with the amazing War Remnants Museum in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) envisioning an installation called The Next Invasion, which is conceived as a group of small floating lantern suspended in the central Atrium, carrying cargo depicting items like food, health, schools, peace, reconciliation, understanding, respect, love, and other positive things one people can help bestow upon another. The Museum is a beautifully-realized place of Peace providing a poignant reminder of the atrocities of the wars promulgated by the French and then the U.S. against the people of Vietnam over decades. Visitors  leave with a firm resolution to never allow such a thing to occur again. It would be a fitting place for the art installation B4Peace has envisioned.


Our project will also include the Tree of Forgiveness, a physical tree in Vietnam and a virtual tree on social media, where individuals can add their stories of forgiveness. People will be able to think about something or someone they would like to forgive, which they then write or draw on a card that becomes a leaf on the tree. They can also place a photograph or memento. At the end of the the project, it is proposed that volunteers read out loud, items placed on the tree. Then at the end of the closing ceremony all items on the tree will be burned, symbolizing both the witness and the surrendering of memory. Our endeavor in this work at all times is to be sensitive to the cross-cultural dynamics of the Vietnamese people.

Education and Future Plans - Why We NEED Your Support

The Journey to Forgiveness will not only take place in Vietnam. During the project there will be a social media campaign to educate the public on the Vietnam War, the ongoing recovery process in Vietnam and the US, showing that the cost of war does not stop with the cease-fire. There are plans to have the Journey of Forgiveness traveling show in the US, in Vietnam, and in an online exhibition which can be used by museums, peace centers and schools. The B4 Peace team plans to hold similar projects, in countries affected by war over the next decade. Forgiveness and peace are on-going processes, and the B4 Peace team will continue facilitating them.

For those interested in more of the creative outreach work of Namaya (pictured at the left above), here is a link to his recently-released poem I am the Vietnam Generation.


  • Jill Perlstein 
    • $30 
    • 1 mo
  • Kasey Ochiltree 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • Dean Gallea 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos


Dean Gallea 
Tarrytown, NY
GRACE Cares 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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