HA NOI, VIETNAM: Many in the developing world cheered when Senator Barack Obama secured the US Democratic nomination race but his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, remains firmly the favourite in Viet Nam.
Most Vietnamese view McCain as being one of their own.
That feeling grew because McCain, who spent five years in prison here during the Viet Nam War, later forgave his adversaries and fought for better ties between the two nations.
In 1967, a surface-to-air missile hit the A-4 Skyhawk which McCain, a US Navy pilot, was flying on a bombing run over the north Vietnamese capital. His plane crashed into Truc Bac Lake in central Ha Noi and the badly injured McCain—both arms and a leg broken—was dragged out of the water and thrown in Hoa Lo prison, dubbed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’.
Said Nguyen Duc Gan, 60, a retired war veteran in Ha Noi: “Oh, I hope McCain wins the election, because it will be good for us. He was imprisoned here, but lucky him, he is still alive.”
When he revisited Ha Noi in 2000, McCain said: “I put the Viet Nam War behind me a long time ago. I harbour no anger, no rancour.” (The Straits Times/ AsiaNews)