Dear little brother

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Dear little brother,

Today we went to the War Remnants Museum, which showcased (among other things) the atrocities inflicted by the chemical warfare the US engaged in during the Vietnam War. We spent only 45 minutes there, but I felt like I lived a lifetime.

And I’m not sure why but being in another country seems to color a lot of experiences for me with more meaning. I think it’s because it provides a historical and political international context that is unnatural to remember when I’m at home.

So the reason I am writing this is because I wonder if it humbled, horrified, awed you the way it did for me.

Because here are my hopes for you coming out of that.

That you realize the time and place you were born into affords you immeasurable advantages.

I hope that you spend some time thinking about how you would handle adversities like the desperately trying ones we saw today — and I hope that it humbles you to know that people with much, much less are accomplishing things that are the stuff of dreams.

And that you realize it is all by chance, why you are here — that there is no discernible reason you deserve to be here more than anyone else.

That it’s up to you to create a reason, with the way you live and the way you love.

I hope you realize that you have a choice — that you can go back to living like your problems are the whole world, or you can do whatever it takes to be worthy of your advantages.

And my greatest hope is that you will want, desperately enough, to be.

With love,

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