Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

K. Lee Bounkhong
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A

Vietnam War didn't affect only people in vietnam, it effected on people at another countries too, like Laos, and Cambodia.

I remembered, during the year 1975. When the Laotian communists (who has always been back up by the Vietnamese Communists.) took over my country (Laos.)

As soon as the Laos and Vietnamese communists Took over the power in country. My family was torn apart. Sometime I wish The United states army had never left Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, so I and other people didn't have to be so suffered.

I remembered, During the year 1975, when royal Lao government was colliation with Lao communist. My dad, who was a colonel for the Royal Lao Army government, received a letter from Vientiane, the capital of Laos. The letter was signed by Prime Minister at the time. In the letter, the Prime Minister ordered all of the country's high-level officials to attend to a very important meeting in Vietiane, the capital of Laos. My dad was one of the ones invited to attend. When the day came for my dad to leave, the chauffeur drove my dad, my mom, my brothers, my sisters, and me to the airport in the city of Savannakhet, where we lived. When we got to the airport, there were several hundred high level officials, all in full dress uniform, just like my dad was, all waiting for flights to Vientiane. Among the officials were my uncles and cousins, all of whom had received the same invitation from the Prime Minister. Like my dad, many of my uncles and cousins were colonels; another one was a lieutenant governor, another an ambassador, police chief command (general), and another an Attorney General. They were all waiting to be called by name to board a cargo airplane to take them to the country's capital. Several big cargo airplanes had been commandeered from the army to transport all of the officials, who were not only from the army, but also from the police, and other military and civilian organizations. There were not enough cargo planes to transport all of the officials at once; so, a second round of trips had to be made to fly everyone to the capital. My mom, brothers, sister, and I waited with my dad at the airport. We all told him not to forget to buy things for us on his way back home. Whenever my dad traveled far away, he would always bring back some gift or buy us some cookies. As soon as his name was called to board one of the airplanes, we gave him a big hug and said good bye to him. He picked up his luggage and said good bye to us. We all said "Bye Dad. Have a safe trip," and waved at him as he walked away from us and climbed the stairs to the interior of the cargo plane. We stood and watched him. My mom went over to my uncles (her brothers and cousins) to say goodbye to them. As soon as the airplane took off, my family and I waved at my dad and my uncles' airplane. Even though the airplane was in the sky, we still waved at the airplane until it disappeared from our sight. Then we went home. The first week went by, and neither my dad nor any of my uncles or great uncles or anyone who had gone to Vientiane with them came home. During the second week, we waited for my dad, hoping that he would walk into the house with cookies in his hands, but still, he did not come. The third week went by and he did not come. Week after week, we waited for him. The weeks turned into months; and months went by, turning into a year. By the time we found out he wasn't coming home, it was too late. The whole country was falling apart by the Laotian communists. The Communists were arrested large number of royalist from 30,000 to 50,000 people and sent them to re education camp. We thought that the Royal Government was still in power, but it turned out that it had none. Instead, the coalition government between the Royalists and Communists had collapsed, and the Pathet Lao had taken over. They tricked my dad, my uncles, and all of their colleagues and had taken them to seminar camps. The letter that had been signed by Prime minister was a fake. He had been forced by the communists to sign that letter that ordered all high level officials to attend that very important meeting in Vientiane.

As soon as my dad, my uncles, my great uncle, my cousins, and all of their colleagues who had entered the cargo airplanes had gotten off from the cargo airplanes. Lao and Vietnamese Army soldiers had forced them at gunpoint into an army truck and transported them deep in the mountainous forested areas that were very hard to get to. They had arrived in their uniforms. In the forest, there were no houses; there was no food; and there were no people around. My dad and his several hundred colleagues were ordered at gun point and to shop down tree cut wood, build their own tents to live in, grow their own food, build and repair roads and highway by using human labor to do it. My dad, my uncles and their colleagues were beaten down by the elements, many starved to death, My dad, my uncles and their colleagues were held as political prisoners in the camp for over a decade. Among in the large number of the arrested. was The King, queen and the crown prince. Each camp contained the political prisoners from 300-400 people. The camps separated officers by rank. Those camps were kept secret from the outside world.

The rest of my family was not allowed to visit. My dad was allowed to communicate only by a letters. Each letters that my dad sent to us was inspected by the Laotian communist. Whenever they relocate my dad, we have no way of knowing to find the way to get in touch with him. From time to time my dad would beg the guard to take letters, that the guard would give to a stranger to deliver to us, just let us know that he was alive. Every since the communists took my dad away. My family was torn apart. The communist tried to take my two older brothers away from my family. Somehow they both managed to escaped from the country and seek asylum in another country, not long after that, the communists took one of my older sisters away from us and sent her to Vietnam. Time passed by so slowly, I couldn't wait to see my dad, my sister and my brothers to come home. I lived with hope and dream, wish that one day they will come home, but it just a dream. A dream is that had never come true.

After all,Vietnam war has had effected my country and my family.



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