Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You, Vietnam Vets and Other Vets

In remembering and honoring all those men and women who have served this country in the past and present, thank you.

I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate those who have gone to my country, Viet Nam...who had suffered and sacrifice their lives for my people.  I also want to remember all the Vietnamese soldiers who had served and died for Viet Nam.

To me, we are not just honoring and remembering the soldiers alone, I think their families, wives and children also deserve to be honored too, for they have suffered for the same cause.

THANK YOU a million times, still not number is ever enough.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Agent Orange Strikes Our Village

We saw strange white powder sprinkle down from a helicopter one afternoon.  It scattered over our village like a thin sheet of smoke.  We wondered what it was.  My mom said it was weird and different; therefore, it would not be a good thing for our village.  The villagers were kind of worried for a while, but then we went back to our normal lives and forgot about it, for it did not seem to do any harm to anybody or anything in the village at the time.

We were wrong. The powder seemed  not to harm us, but some months later we began to see the deadly effect of it.  Our fruit trees, all our plants were dying.  Eventually the greenery of our village was no longer  green, most of our tree died and had to be chopped down.  (We had mango and coconut orchards) My family's coconut groves one by one started to lose fruit and the tops of the trees  turned brown.  The villagers were sad because some families  relied on the harvest as their way to take care of their families. The adults in the village wondered about the water in the river and especially our well. (Many villagers used our well water.)

We found out later that the white powder was called Agent Orange.  The American officials wanted to kill all the greens so that the communists would not have places to hide in the shrubs to easily launch their attacks without being seen.  I guess that was the only way.

Today, I have met many American soldiers who served in Viet Nam War, and they shared with me the effect on their health because of this agent orange powder.  I am sorry for the suffering that they have to deal with for the rest of their lives because of Viet Nam War.  I appreciate them for trying to protect us.  But I also wonder if those officials who ordered this particular mission knew that this powder would harm so many people and if they were aware of it did they ever think about us, the people, the soldiers that lived on that land?  Does the benefit outshine the harmful effect?

So many decades later I still feel sad for my villagers and for the people of Viet Nam.  We had to endure so many horrible thing because of the war and even now, my people are still under the wrath of communism.  When are those communist leaders going to realize they are not doing anything good for the people of Viet Nam?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Unwelcome Visitors

I woke up in the middle of the night by the sound of the footsteps outside of my house.  I sat up on my bed trying to listen harder to find out if there were really some one outside.  The scary feeling ran through me and made me just freeze.  After a few minutes I started to cry. That is when my mom came quietly into the room.  She came over and hugged me tight. She whispered to me to be quiet.  She pointed to my window and said to me, "Do not make any noise." I followed my mom's gaze and looked where there were shadows of many men crouching outside of my window.  I can still see the silouettes of their guns on their shoulders.  I looked at my mom with questions whirling in my brain, but she softly reminded me to be quiet and  told me to lie down and go to sleep. She said she would lie down with me.

I woke up in the morning with the sun shining through my huge picture window.  My mom had gotten up to do her daily chores.  The incident of the night came back to me. I  went to open the window, tiptoed to the window and lookdc outside but I did not see anything.  It felt as if it was a dream.

At the breakfast table I heard my mom was telling my older siblings that these were communists. "The unwelcome visitors are getting too daring and we all must be careful."  We had always known they were lurking somewhere out there behind the trees and further out in our field, but never had they come that close to our house.  Mom said that they were here last night looking for my dad .

The next day when my day was home from his office, I heard she told my dad that those communists who visited my house the other night sent word to the people who lived nearby to tell my parents  they wanted to have a "visit" with my dad. They said, "Too bad he was not home."

This happened so so long ago, when I was about seven years old but until this day, I still wonder how did they know my father was not home.  They must have watched and spied on us very intensely every day....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Honoring My Mom on Mother's Day

My normal schedule for Saturday night into Sunday is with my mom. Since my dad passed away and my mom's health worsened, my siblings and I decided to take turns to be with my mom since she still wants to live in her own home and not to move in and bother any of us; therefore, we decided to move in with her.

Lately, her mind is not very alert. Sometimes she sees things or talks about things that do not really exist. Last night I was with her as usual. In the middle of the night, she woke up and wanted to wait for someone who was coming to see her. It is really sad to see my mom become so confused.

It is Mother's Day and that is why I wanted to write something about my mom. I had many memories with my mom, sad ones and also good ones. I don't want to honor her with something she has done for me but something we did together when I was very young.

In our house, on the second floor, we had a open space. I guess I could call it a veranda with no cover. We had a couple of day beds so sometimes we could sit and visit or read a book. I liked to lie there with my mom every night and look at the stars in the sky. She would tell me the names and stories of all the stars. I knew they were made up fairy tales, but I was happy and anxious to hear them every night. Because where we lived did not have electricity at the time, that's why the stars were so bright and beautiful. My mom always chose the brightest and said that one was me and there was always a very special story about that star.

It's hard to see my mom so confused now. I woke up this morning getting ready for Sunday church. Before I left the house, I kissed her cheek and said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom." She smiled at me as if she understood what I was saying. Well, maybe something in her does understand.....I hope.

I have never told her how special those nights were to me when looking at the stars with her. I wish I had. I thought that she would never get old and become this way. I am sorry, Mom. I hope maybe one of the Saturday nights when I am with her, she will be less confused, and I will try to find a way to bring back those memories and thank her.

Tell your mom you love her and thank her when she still able to comprehend and happy to hear your kind words. Don't wait until it's too late.....and maybe it's not too late for me either.

Happy Mother's Day!