This is the story of an unlikely pair together to recount the tragedies of war; from opposite sides they share the same view. An eternal grave site of names, etched in granite. Behind each one, is a story of life and death.
Many of the people who come to see these names also have a story, veterans facing the realities of war and realizing their own fortune.
One vet who did just that brought along with him the former enemy, that vet happens to be FOX 5's Laura Evans' dad. Captain Larry Evans has walked this path along the Vietnam Wall many times.
He sees the names and remembers. But walking with him this time is an unlikely companion.
Quynh Nguyen is a tour guide from Vietnam. It's his first time in the U.S.
As a young boy Quynh knew Americans as the enemy. Evans was among them.
Thirty-eight years ago Captain Evans left his pregnant wife for Vietnam. A Marine pilot, he flew F-4's trying to wipe out the communist regime. He, like most, wasn't sure he'd ever make it home.
But after 13 months, he was one of the lucky ones. And he promised he'd never go back to the war zone. Less than 20 years later, he did and it changed his life.
Quynh was his tour guide. Somewhere along their journey, talk turned to the war.
Quynh revealed his father, Sanh Xuan Nguyen, was a major in the North Vietnamese Army. He drove ammunition trucks along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Evans told Quynh, "That's interesting. One of my primary missions was bombing trucks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail."
Immediately they had a bond. By email they corresponded, learning more about each other
Through email Quynh said, "My father would like to meet you. Would you be willing?
Evans said he'd be honored. And so with his family, Evans returned again to North Vietnam, this time to share a meal with a man who was his enemy.
Quynh's father, brother, sister and mother prepared a beautiful meal and we sat around family style and ate and talked. His father could joke, could laugh.
They learned they were in the same place at the same time during the war, in direct combat for some time.
Quynh shared the gentler side of his country with Evans. Evans wanted to return the favor and helped arrange and finance Quynh's trip to America.
One of the more important stops on the visit was the Vietnam War Memorial.
Quynh's father died 2 years ago. Quynh says he's just thankful that before his death.. His dad came to peace with the enemy.
Over Fifty-eight thousand Americans died in the war. The Vietnamese lost as many as 4 million people.
But there is no anger here between the two men, only great admiration and forgiveness.
They are friends now.
Evans encourages other vets to return to Vietnam think it shows us all deep down, war and politics aside, we are all people, good people.
And at the end of the day, a handshake goes a long way toward bridging the gap to peace.