My Lai Massacre

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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My Lai Massacre "My Lai was no accident. It was pure, premeditated murder". The memory of this tragic day is forever etched in the memories of many Vietnamese. The area in which the massacre took place was known as the Quang Ngai Province in the Song My village. This area was many times the scene for the worst fighting to take place between the U.S. and the National Liberation Front. The hamlet of My Lai was said to be the strongest of the NLF guerrilla forces.

Entering by helicopter, the soldiers of the Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, and 20th Infantry lashed out and brutally killed unarmed and surrendering villagers in the hamlet of My Lai. Under the command of Lt. William Calley, on March 16, 1968, as many as 500 civilian Vietnamese lives were brutally taken by American soldiers whose original orders were to locate and destroy Vietcong combat units in the area of the South China Sea.

Soldier, Hugh Thompson remembers that fatal day: "We were flying back and forth for some time, not getting shot at, when I left to refuel. When we got back on stations there were bodies everywhere." The victims were women, older men, even toddlers and infants. People were marched into a ditch and shot at point blank range. Many were forced to watch loved ones die, wanting to help but paralyzed to change the events that were taking place around them. Scared for their own lives, many ran seeking some type of shelter that would spare them their lives while others of their village were being brutally killed. The events of that day seem like they could never take place, but in all actuality the heinous acts were very real. Hugh Thompson remembers the act of a soldier by stating, "He nudged her with his...