The My Lai massacre memorial is located 8kms outside of Quang Ngai on Vietnam’s central coast in rural countryside surrounded by palm trees and rice paddies. It’s three hours drive south of Hoi An and isn’t far off Highway 1 – the main route between Hanoi and Saigon.
The memorial has been expanded since a socialist realist statue depicting steadfast resistance in the face of the slaughter was erected in the 1970s. The faces have a distinctly European character to them.
During the past decade, new bronze statues and a museum have been added. The museum features images of the slaughter and other events of the war. It’s not dissimilar to collections in other war history museums around the country – with more emphasis on the massacre.
Outside the museum, there are recreations of ravaged huts similar to those in which the victims, whose names are recorded on plaques, once lived. There are some unfortunate concrete models of slain animals that add nothing to the solemnity of a visit.
The simpler memorial that existed in the 90s was arguably more effective in conveying the horror of the massacre.