Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Peter Nguyen
Houston, Texas, US

I lived through this period and will never forget. I was on rooftop of my house watching the Northern Vietnamese tanks rolling in the streets of Saigon. My father, a Southern Vietnamese military officer, kissed my mother and left for a destination unknown a few hours earlier. Our family was in fear for our life because of my father’s status. A few days later, he came back only for a short period. The new government was kind enough to let him “re-educate”. He kissed my mother, me, my brothers again before he left to the “re-education” camp.

We came to the US in 1980 under refugee status. When I was in high school, a teacher asked me about my father’s plight. “If he is not in prison, what does ‘re-education’ mean?”, she asked. I could not explain. “And if he is not in prison, why isn’t there a trial for him?”, she pressed. I still could not explain. Until today, I still could not explain why he needed to be “re-educated”.

The Vietnam War changed my lives and the lives of my brothers. We grew up without a father after the fall of Saigon. My youngest brother could barely remember my father when we had our reunion in 1992. My father came to the United States a strange man to all of us. I often thought that this man I call “Dad” is not the same guy I knew when I was nine.


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