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On April 30, 1975, I was only two years old. All I cared about was if somebody took away my toys. I'd cry if they did. But when the war ended my family came apart. My father had been a soldier fighting against the Veit Cong and to get revenge they put him in prison for ten years. He had been the only one working and supporting us, so it was hard for my mother to handle everything by herself.
They put my father up in the north in the "Iron Prison". Then 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. First we had to dig for many days to find water underground. And we had to protect each other from wild animals. We also had to build houses.
Tay Ninh wasn't a quiet or safe place to live. A war started in Cambodia and we were only about thirty miles from the border. I heard gunfire almost every night and I cried a lot because I was very scared. I just wanted to get back to the other house in the city where I thought it would be safe, but I had to stay there four years.
My dad got out of prison on October 23, 1985. Ten years in prison changed him a lot. He had become mean and unhealthy.
But after going through all of that, I learned something about the value of life.