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Trang Vo
Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA

Dear friends,

First of all, to the friend whose uncle helped develop Agent Orange: from what I've studied as a chemistry student, agent orange supposed to be an herbicide but when it's released into the air and combined with oxygen - a reaction occurs to give it the deadly effect of causing mutations in living organism, including humans.I guess scientists didn't realize that chain reaction could happen at the time. Many times, our grand discoveries become problems that could not be solved, at least not for a long time. (I'm looking at my PC and it is the perfect example for my statement.)

I've read all of your memoirs and stories about the Vietnam War in this Scrapbook and cried through most of them. You would ask, "what does a 25 year-old girl know about the war?" I was 3 months old when the war ended. I grew up without a father for 7 years. (He was in "re-education" camp for being an officer in psych. op. for the South Vietnamese Army.) He was stationed in Pleiku when the news broke that many cities had been taken by the North. My father and his men led a group of 40 peoples, including me, my mother and my older sister through the jungle for 20 days without food. We were all starving and as a baby, I couldn't even cry. Several people in the group were shot when we tried to cross a plain field at night. We had to leave them there and moved on. We ended up in Tuy Hoa without knowing that it too, was taken by the North. They took my father away and said that he would return in 7 days. Seven days turned out to be 7 years. My sister and I had to stay in the hospital for a month due to sickness from mal-nutrition. After that ordeal, I visited my father several times at the camp with my mother. The first time when I was four; I screamed, "no, no, you're not my papa", and would not let him touch me. Tears were streaming down his face and to this day, I could never forget that moment. I only knew him through pictures; he was young and handsome compared to the man I saw that day. That's what war brings us: strangers among ourselves!!!

Through the years, my father has taught me a great deal about sacrifice, fear, life, death and most of all: honor. He said that war brings out the best and also the worst in men but one should not be so arrogant when he wins for he does not know when he shall lose. And my mom has taught me love, faithfulness and that no matter what life brings, one should accept it with grace.

We have deep respect for the American soldiers and have much to be thankful to the American people. Our family came to the US with the help of the Humanitarian Organization in 1990. I'm now collecting stories from my parents and relatives about the past so that the next generation has something to read, to learn, and be able to appreciate life the way we do.

Thank you for giving me this chance to share with you my stories and letting me share yours. We may all have different beliefs and views about life and its multi-aspects, but may it never divide us as people whom nature is to love - not hate.

Best regards,

Trang Vo



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