Hoai My Winder
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
It's hard to word the emotions I have when I think of the Viet Nam war. It's the place of my birth and the beloved home of the family that raised me. However, I also consider myself an American, and think of the USA of the home of my spirit..
My father was in Viet Nam in the capacity of a Navy Intelligence Officer. My mother was there because it is the country of her birth. During that war, my sister and I were conceived, born, and left behind when our father's tour of duty ended.
The first eight years of my life spent in Viet Nam are very vivid to me, as I suppose all childhood memories are to others. However, I think of myself as being extremely lucky to have had these unique memories. I remember the countryside on excursions with my grandmother. I can still feel the rain during monsoon season, the smell of food cooking in the outdoor market, the taste of sugarcane juice bought from a vendor, and feeling as though I was living in a such a special place. As an adult, I find it ironic that I had such happiness in a place where no luxuries of living existed.
We were lucky to have been able to escape Viet Nam the day before the US troops withdrew.. We were especially blessed to have left there as a whole family unit with great grandmother, grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins... I have been in the United States since.
I find myself questioning why this war had to take place. I feel such grieve for the lives that were lost, both Vietnamese and American in this conflict for I belong to both countries..
I look for the good that came out of this horrible senseless tragedy and hope that my life is one payment in a debt that will never be fully repaid.
I am an American who exercises her right to vote, and participate in the political process.
I pay my taxes, volunteer endless hours at my children's school, serve in my church, and look for ways and time to contribute to the community that I live. I do not take my life for granted. I am thankful for little things. I KNOW HOW PRECIOUS LIFE IS.. I KNOW THE COST OF FREEDOM.
I am a mother to 4 sons who are taught by both my husband and I the value of a free country. They are involved in scouting. They are good students, they respect their teachers. They are being taught by us to be good citizens.
I have a commitment to never forget those who came and gave their life for me. Perhaps in doing all these things, I can validate the reason I exist.