On this day April 30th, 1975, Saigon fell and Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh successfully units Vietnam under Communist rule.
This is the story of my mom’s family’s escape.
My grandfather Joseph, worked for the American government while they were still in Vietnam. He made good money, and he was a hard working man. At this time my two uncles and mom were the only kids at that time. My family is Catholic, and my grandfather and grandmother were very religious. They had a statue of Mother Mary, which they kept all their life.
Forty-one years ago, my grandfather hears the new about the North Vietnamese communist advancement toward Saigon. He immediately rushed home and told my mom, her brothers, and my grandma that they had to leave immediately. They took food and the statue of Mother Mary. They rushed to the US embassy in Saigon, with literally the clothing on their backs.
At this time, everyone in South Vietnam had heard and panic had ensued. There we people running everywhere and rushing to the US embassy. When the US embassy found out, they started to airlift people out via helicopters. My family was lucky enough to be one of those to be airlifted out. They then had to take a boat filled with other refugees, that were being taken to Burma. My uncle always tells me how scared he was, and how his dad, my grandpa, was so stern that day. He had worked really hard, and already had everything prepared for my mom and uncles. They had good things, and he even bought them houses already for when they were older, but he had to leave it all and escape.
When my grandfather died two years ago, my family really felt it. This was the man that did everything for them and who worked really hard, he went from suit and tie to be doing really strenuous labor work. I want him to live through me, with his hard work and his exceptional faith. This is me.