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dreamcatcher27371
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Posts: 23
(6/10/01 8:50:21 pm)
| Del All Memories of a Vietnamese Sailor #5
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Response to a few questions I had:
Thank you very much for many encouraging and
sypathetic emails from my fellow Swifties. In my
original email I did not mean that Vietnam was
abandoned by American men and women who served, died,
wounded, and sacrificed for Vietnam. What I intended
to say was Vietnam was abandoned by an ally.

I can speak for the vast majority of the Vietnamese
people who live in America as well as for some who are
still living in Vietnam that your sacrifice is greatly
appreciated. In fact, there is a memorial built in
the city of Westminster, Orange County, California to
memorialize and to show the Vietnamese community's
appreciation of the friendship and sacrifice of both
American and Vietnamese soldiers. The memorial show
two statutes: One American and one Vietnamese soldier
with both flags: American and the yellow and three
red stripes (South Vietnam) flying. The city of
Westminster, CA donated the land, and the Vietnamese
community in America raised the funds to build the
memorial. I also have spoken with many Vietnamese who
are still in Vietnam and I was told that your
sacrifice is not forgotten. To be sure, the younger
generation (born after 1970) is more naive and some of
them are indifferent. You know, they were
"brain-washed" through the educational system. In my
family, my little nephews and nieces are totally
indifferent (having no allegiance) to the current
system, yet they do have allegiance to Vietnam. When
they look at me, I could read in their eyes that they
see an uncle who fought and lost the war to the
current government, they show their envy that I come
back and bring a lot of good things to their
grandparents, that I help the whole large family.
People from South Vietnam still call Saigon as Saigon.
The security force tried to stop it but to no avail
so now it is "acceptable" to call Saigon as Saigon.
HCM city is only used on official document and postal
system. Even on flights to Saigon, Vietnam the
airlines still tag our luggages as "SGN". Singapore,
Malaysia, Korean, Asia, Asiana, China, and Thai
airlines all use the same tagging code.

I came to the US (Indian Town Gap - PA) via Guam
Island in July 1975. I contacted my sister and
brothers-in-law (who was a Vietnam Vet and also served
another tour in Vietnam working for the General
Accounting Office). I left Indian Town Gap in August
1975. I stayed with my sister for about six months,
then I moved out to stay with a group of ex-South
Vietnamese sailors. For the first two years I was
terrified to contact my family; until I heard that
"they" allowed some mails to go through with strict
censorship. I then wrote a letter to my family using
my great grandfather's name as my name just to let
them know (by recognizing my handwriting) that I was
living in the U.S.

I later learned that during the first two or three
years after the fall of Vietnam (Saigon), my family
had to answer many questions about me. My family told
"them" that I was dead (there was no proof one way or
another); so after two years, they left my family
alone. My family went through a lot of hardships
because my father was thrown out of work. He used to
work for a French-Rubber company. The commies
nationalized the company, kicked the French out of
Vietnam, and fired all employees (so that they could
bring their cronies in to work). Fortunately, my
older sister had a small stall selling noodles so my
whole family (nine people) relied on her for their
daily subsistance. At one point in time, there was
not even rice available for the people to eat so they
had to rely on sweet potatoes and another kind of nuts
(we used to feed pigs with it). They endured more
than I could imagine but I feel this is not a forum
for me to detail the hardship.

Then finally in late 1998 "they" started allowing
Vietnamese from overseas to send money back to
Vietnam. I did and still do but at a same time I feel
terrible because I know somehow the Dollars would end
up in "their" dirty hand; therefore, I indirectly
assist the communist in obtaining hard currency. At
the same time, I knew in my heart that my family were
suffering and enduring and they need my financial
assistance. Talking about dilemma.

I came to the US without English nor did I have any
marketable skills (beside shooting the double 50 and
the 80MM :)) So, I started learning the language,
working at odd job, went to Montgomery Junior College
in Rockville, Maryland, and then University of
Maryland. Now looking back, I do not regret my
decision to leave Vietnam. I am thankful of this
great country for providing me with opportunities to
advance myself.

I got married to a lady whom I met in Montgomery
Junior College, she is Caucasian, third generation of
German-American. We lived together for 4 years and
married for an additional 2 years and ... we then
divorced. Fortunately, if there is such thing in a
divorce, we did not have any child. The divorce was a
mutual and amicable agreement that both of us should
part our way. Looking back now I think two that
elements affected our parting: Cultural differences
coupled with my depression and erratic behaviors (the
after-effect of the war? I am not sure). I am still
in contact with her family, still call her sisters as
"sisters", call her mom and dad as "mom, dad", but for
some reasons she does not want to have any contact
with me. Yeah, it was heart-broken to go through a
divorce, especially during my last semester in school.

My wife now is Vietnamese and she is a cousin of my
college roommate. We have a 13 years old daughter and
a 22 years old daughter from her previous marriage.
The 22 years old daughter is going to attend law
school at Chapman University in Orange County, CA.

I am proud to be an American citizen for 20+ years,
when I go overseas, I proudly display my American
passport; but I have to be honest in saying this: deep
in my heart I am still a Vietnamese, non-communist, of
course. I go to Vietnam often because I've got my
parents, two younger brothers and a sister there. My
parents can go forever anytime (poor health and old
age 80+ years); also, when I come to Vietnam, I sense
a certain of history, of connection, of sadness for
the country, the people, and for all of the American
soldiers who sacrifice so much for the lost cause.

In December 1999, I took a trip to Qui Nhon, by land.
I stopped on one of the pass, looking down to a small
bay named Vung Ro, where "they" use to land their
junks to supply their troops( it's also where we sunk
a couple of their big supply boats that originated
from Hai Phong in the North). I came to realize that
the Swifts that patrolled this era had to suffer a lot
because the narrow bay is surrounded by mountains and
hills. There is only way "in" and therefore "out".
So either way, the Swifts would have came under heavy
fire (I never serve in Qui Nhon).

Well, thank you for all of your sacrifices, thanks for
the lives that were lost for the country, for the
blood that filtered the South Vietnam soil, and for
the sufferings that all of us alive now endure, also
thanks God for giving us the opportunity to tell our
children and grand children what happened to the lives
of those who did not make it and what happened to us.
It is, in a sense, a bittersweet chapter in our life.
For better or worse, it is in our history and memory
bank.

(To be continued.........)

Edited by: dreamcatcher27371 at: 6/10/01 9:52:13 pm
 
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