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FALL OF SAIGON STORIES


(c) Copyright 2001 Lonely Planet Publications.  All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

It seems fitting that with the twenty-year anniversary of the fall of Saigon to the Peoples Army of Vietnam, special recognition of the memories, feelings, and introspections regarding April 30, 1975 is in order. Many of our Vietnamese students at Mission College experienced first hand the deprivation, humiliation, and fear associated with losing their government, their way of life, and their freedom. Many were children and perceived these devastations through their caretakers, but clearly as can be seen from their stories a shadow lives in their hearts as well. But all who left their Vietnamese homeland to come to the United States chose a life filled with uncertainty, change, and stuggle over a life in their homeland under a Communist thumb.

 I have a personal interest in this subject because I have many Vietnamese students in my classes and I'm constantly amazed at the stories they write in their journals and other assignments about their past lives. It is often difficult to fully appreciate the extent to which these diligent quiet people have survived all manner of disasters and trauma and have gone on to lead civil productive lives.

The following are the stories as well as excerpts from stories written by many Vietnamese students attending Mission College during the spring semester of 1995.


TABLE OF CONTENTS AND REFERENCE GUIDE

Triem Dang

"Right now, there aren't any freedoms in my country such as freedoms of speech, belief, residence, and politics."


Tran Ngoc De

"The huge door of the palace slowly opened, letting those Russian tanks run victoriously and proudly to the porch. Can you imagine the deep sorrow of the people in the South?"


Kieu Ha

"We couldn't meet or do anything with people who were directly involved in resisting the April 30, 1975 Communist takeover. The Vietcong said they were criminals. We couldn't even listen to any love songs that talked about the cruelty of the war in Vietnam."


Xuyen Hoang

"Me and my husband went down a little hole that someone had prepared so that we could avoid the bullets. We lit a candle so we could have some light. ... I was frightened and held my husband's hand tightly. If we were going to die we wanted to die together."


My-Linh Le

"My sisters have told me that during that time my body was very thin because of under nourishment and I was covered with scabies. Almost everything we had was sold for rice. We had only a few dishes, some old clothes, and a few torn blankets." 

Suong Ngoc Le

"Those who could walk ran up and down, back and forth, but they did not know where to go. They were looking for some possible way to protect their lives."


Truc Le

"When I stopped to rest, my mother made some milk for me, but it was hard for me to drink it because I was so scared."


Tran Ngo

"... my mom looked at me and said, 'How would you feel if you lived alone?' In a second my ears felt like there were some ants crawling in there and my heart beat faster and faster. I asked, 'What happened, Mom?' "


Hong Nguyen

"[Patients] were lying or sitting everywhere on the road in front of the army hospital with tears and more tears in their eyes. The doctors and nurses were also sent away and replaced by Communists who had not even graduated from high school."


Le Nguyen

"I destroyed my office. I did it because I did not want to leave anything in my responsibility to the enemy. It was an image I've never forgotten. I stood alone to see my office on fire with tears in my eyes. I had lost everything; my country and my freedom."


Nga Nguyen

"...a new red flag with a yellow star in the center went up; a Communist flag which people were scared of and tried to escape from because it represented a government administered mainly by police."


Thuy Nguyen

"As soon as the Communists took over South Vietnam, they sent many of the educated people to the jungle as prisoners. They ordered us to plow by human power and build cottages with mud and straw. They handcuffed and legcuffed all of us like animals and forced us to earn a living by hard labor."


Cat Tonnu

"My sister and younger brother were also attending university, but when the Communists occupied South Vietnam, my father was put in jail and we were thrown out of the university. "


Huu Tran

"However, I didn't think that I would leave my wife and children forever because I thought that the enemy could not violate the cease fire and everything would be over very quickly."


Thanh Tran

"... from 1975 to 1982 we didn't have enough food. We were used to having rice, meat, and vegetables for lunch and dinner (it was traditional), but at that time, we had to eat corn, sweet potatoes, and yams instead of rice."


Tu Trinh Tran

"I remember watching cartoons on TV which showed the Viet Cong as devils or cruel monkeys. It made me scared of them even though I was too young to understand political events."


Uyen Tran

"... they sent the rest of us, my mother and eight kids, to Tay Ninh. They threw sixty to seventy people on a bus and off we went. Tay Ninh was a jungle with no houses, no food, no store. We had to learn how to survive."


Hoan Vu

"At midnight, my friends and I went secretly to the pier and got a boat. We all got in and at first I didn't start the engine, but just moved smoothly along with the current. When the boat was far from the pier, I started the engine and went toward the sea."


MORE INFORMATION

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS FALL OF SAIGON STORIES

VIETNAM WAR REFLECTIONS

VIETNAM INSIGHT JULY 1995

VIETNAM INSIGHT 1994

VIETNAM INSIGHT AUGUST 1994

VIETNAM INSIGHT 1995

VIETNAM VETERANS' HOME PAGE

ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR

ASIAN STUDIES - VIETNAM

THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM: DEVELOPMENT CONTEXT

STATISTICS ON VIETNAM

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT VIETNAM

BICYCLING IN VIETNAM

Created by Marianne Brems
 
 
Comments? marianne@CSLI.stanford.edu

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