Albany, CA, USA
I came to America after escaping the Vietnamese Communists 20 years ago. I was a 12 year-old student then when I had my first contacts with some members from a US army division's military band who gave some music lessons to me and other students in Hue. In contrast with some GIs such as those did at My Lai or some committed crimes such as hit-and-run without punishments, and the like that I heard, these Americans left a great deal of good impression on me. They have so wonderful personalities.
As a Vietnamese-American, I feel very uneasy when someone asking about my nationality since the war that the US helped us caused too much pain and divided America so much. Not only that, our corrupted South Vietnamese governments spoiled a lot of things and created a bad image of the South in the eyes of American public. After all were just like South Korean or Taiwan except that we had a war going on and we were losers. I think it is a bias these days when the media talks about Vietnam, it implies the North. Well, the whole country is theirs now after many years of planning to rob the other half and successfully fooled the world's opinions and suppressed their own people. But the truth is more than half of its population is the Southerns and forced to live under a corrupted and authotarian regime, hundreds times worse than the one in the South during the war. My family still live there and I could bet that the communist will not survive a second longer if there is a free election.
I heard about many Americans visiting Vietnam recently received hospitality and warm welcomes. Most probably come from the Southerns, some of those perhaps disliked the Americans before but now learned a lesson of living under the Commie victors! And if some come from the Northerns? It could be the smell of the green bill!
I would like to thank AmericanRadioWorks for giving me a public forum to express my deep gratefulness to what America did for the Southerns during and after the war. I believe there are millions of Southerns who feel the same way as I do. I think it is an unfortunate war, millions people died uselessly. Perhaps it was not well executed by the US and the South, but the fact is we were against the tyrany, the invaders and trying to protect the weak. Maybe some day we learn more to win similar battles without spilling a drop of blood.
On this day, 25th year after the end of the war, my sad thought to those 58,000 plus Americans and millions of the South Vietnamese who died during the war and thousands thanks to those Vietnam Vets who bravely did their duties in somebody's war that shattered many beliefs.