April 30 marked the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to communist North Vietnam. Every year at this time the Vietnamese community observes "Black April." This year, people may have seen PBS's broadcast of "The Last Days in Vietnam," which tells the story of the desperate evacuation South Vietnamese from the American embassy in Saigon. The last days in Vietnam are never far from our minds. My father was a captain in the Republic of Vietnam Army and worked in Cong Hoa hospital in Saigon. We lived near the American embassy in Saigon but missed the evacuation shown in the film. After the fall, my father spent more than give years in the communist prison camp while our family struggled to survive.
We feel the great injustice of Henry Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize. We hope the film helps Americans understand why South Vietnamese feel betrayed by Kissinger and abandoned by the U.S. government. However, we are forever grateful to American soldiers and proud of our South Vietnamese soldiers who fought for freedom, democracy in Vietnam. We displayed the yellow flag with three red stripes to show our gratitude and pride.
American and South Vietnamese veterans formed an alliance to work on building the Vietnam War memorial in Auburn's Les Gove Park. The memorial says, "honor our fallen soldiers and appreciate all surviving Vietnam War veterans."
Vietnam War veterans are growing old and passing away. It is time to remember their sacrifices and honor their services.
Lan Phan Jones