Once more, for our American daughter
April is a month of remembrance for many Vietnamese Americans as it marks incredible loss and new beginnings in this country. On this day, 45 years ago, my father escaped Vietnam after spending eight years flying a Huey Medevac helicopter along the DMZ. He said goodbye to his family, landed on a U.S. naval air carrier, and watched as his helicopter was pushed into the South China sea to make room for some of the over 100,000 fellow refugees fleeing their homeland.
I often speak of my parents’ difficult journeys to the U.S. because they define my ethic, cultural, and political identities. I am the first American born citizen of my generation. Together, we learned English and practiced by reading the newspaper and books from the public library. My parents juggled jobs as janitors and dishwashers, leaning on WIC and ESL programs as they slowly worked their way trough the American educational system. They showed me how to work hard, help others, and not be ashamed of coming out of poverty.
My family’s story is part of the collective American story of survival and finding new ways to build communities. My children and I will be revisiting this today while listening to my Moth Radio Hour Story. Join us