Allentown , PA, USA
My wife and I went to Vietnam on an assignment with the Mennonite Church in 1962. We learned the language and worked there in a variety of social and church ministries until April, 1975. Our three children were born in Saigon.
Back in the States, it was a natural for us to assist in helping Vietnamese refugees who came to our communities. Through personal and church sponsorships, we helped several families resettle.
And for the past decade, I have worked as a caseworker in a local social service center with Vietnamese clients.
I have continued many relationships with friends in Vietnam through letters, and have made three visits to Vietnam since 1995. My "passion" for Vietnam is so great that I am planning to lead a tour group to Vietnam in February, 2001 to help others appreciate the Vietnamese people and culture.
During the Sixties and Seventies, I disagreed with the American policies on Vietnam and, on occasion, joined the public protests. I deliberately minimized my relationships with US military personnel in Vietnam. Yet today I have friendships with GIs who survived the Vietnamese combat. My several visits to the Vietnamese Memorial in Washington have been highly emotional experiences for me.
My friendships, my profession, my distrust of America's misuse of military and economic power all continue to be shaped by my experience with Vietnam.