April 29th, 1975

After a restless night of shelling and mortar attacks, my family and I were airlifted from the airport along with hundreds or maybe a thousand other refugees. We flew out to aircraft carriers waiting not very far off shore from Saigon. Those days before and after the Fall of Saigon were still vivid in my mind. Looking back I felt it was unfortunate to experience the evacuation not only from my home but out of my country. My view changed overtime. Now I looked at those events as an initiation into history and becoming a member of the world society of refugees. I was a part of a colossal life altering experience. My family came away from the experience unscathed, we were very lucky. That experience gave me an outlook on life that will remain with me for the rest of my life. It taught me on a shallower level that nothing can be taken for granted. Freedom is one of those nothing, it is a concept so precious to many while others who have never known otherwise tend to disregard it to the point of abuse. A person understands freedom more profoundly when it can be taken away. What does it really mean to be free? Does a wild animal raised in captivity know whether it is free or not? May be it is born with the yearning for freedom that we could neither understand nor fathom.

Freedom is not anarchy. To be able to live and pursue happiness is the most tangible concept of freedom. Simple concept, but why are there so many of us living in a “free society” like the United States, yet we are certainly not free? We live in debts because we gave away our freedom for want of things we cannot pay for. It is our failure to understand freedom that fill up our jails and gets us all in debts.

My experience in Vietnam on a deeper level taught me optimism. All that I knew, owned or cared for could all be taken away; yet my parents and thousands of other refugees have proved that given enough time and effort, life starts a new. Look around and you will notice how tenacious life is. I saw a young green fern taking hold on a field of black lava as far as the eyes can see.