The Vietnam War was a defining moment in the 20th century and reshaped the landscape of global politics. In my thesis, the post-war period (1975-2020) is analyzed, noting the remarkable changes in relations between the US and Vietnam, from bitter enemies in a traumatizing and lengthy war to a process of reconciliation and normalization. During this period, Vietnam transforms from an isolated, repressive, and poverty-stricken communist nation to a dynamic economic actor with a more complicated political and economic system. The crucial shift occurred in 1986, with the doi moi reforms. At the same time, the US position toward Vietnam was also shifting, from bitterness and anger toward its defeat and concern about POW's and MIA's, to a grappling with US responsibility toward Vietnam (as Agent Orange and various massacres), as well as concern about the geopolitical realities in Southeast Asia, and that US long-term interests require a more measured relationship with Vietnam as the US attempts to balance the growing power of China. I examine these issues at various levels, most importantly, through the career and shifting views of John McCain. McCain began as a committed military man, patriot, who was captured by the North Vietnamese, and harshly treated in a long captivity. And yet, after his release, and after becoming a powerful Senator in Congress, McCain led the way toward a changed relationship with Vietnam, from both a ethical and national interest perspective. While other Americans were fiercely divided on such issues, McCain courageously argued over the years for a step-by-step normalization policy. I also examine others individuals and groups that articulate various positions on this difficult issue that has continue to adapt to new circumstances over these last 35 years. I conclude by examining the current implications of continued normalization of relations with Vietnam in a world defined by the ongoing competition between the US and China. Even today Vietnam provokes strong feelings and debate, as the deep and nagging wounds inflicted upon one another begin to wane as the years go by.