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Hong Nguyen

She is forty-eight years old and came to the U.S. three years ago.

April 30, 1975 was a dark historic day. On that day the sky grew dark and everyone had dazed frightened faces. The Communist government of North Vietnam violated the Geneva agreement of 1954 and the Paris Agreement of 1972 in which it was stated that the seventeenth parallel divides Vietnam in two parts. They entered Saigon, the capitol of the Republic of Vietnam, destroyed the army and conquered all of South Vietnam.

From my window I watched many soldiers take off their uniforms on the road side. I watched with tears in my eyes because I understood that I had lost my country as I knew it and my freedom.

 The Communist soldiers walked around with guns on their shoulders, winners faces, and domineering actions. They said the South Vietnamese were poor, hungry, and miserable because they were oppressed by the Americans and they needed to be liberated. The Communists also came in the hospital in Saigon with guns and told the patients they must leave the hospital even though they were sick. Some of them had only one leg or one arm, some had no legs or arms, some were blind or disabled, and some had had difficult operations the day before. But the order of the winners was that these patients must be carried out. Then they 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.

 That day was the end of the old life for all South Vietnamese. A few weeks later hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese officers became political prisoners of the Communist government. Their wives were laid off and their children couldn't go to school or get a job while food, medicine and clothing were expensive and hard to get.

A lot of these prisoners died in prisoner of war camps in North Vietnam especially near the frontier of China because of cold weather, hunger, very hard work, and no medicine. My two brothers spent ten most horrible years in that prisoner of war camp.

 The rest of my family was working hard during the day to earn a little money to buy food. At night we didn't sleep well because we were always afraid when we heard a noise outside that someone would come in with a gun to take someone who would never come back.

 All of these are the reasons that we came to a new country. Now we've begun from the number 0.