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A Cup of Joe: April 30 is about honoring perseverance, not hating Viet Cong

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April 30 marks the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. It was the day North Vietnamese forces captured the southern capital of Saigon and ended the Vietnam War.

 

For Vietnamese refugees who arrived here in the states in 1975, it's a reminder of Black April – when the lives they knew was lost forever. A time when they were forced to leave their home, their job, everything they had and travel to a foreign country in order to survive.

 

I've been following a Facebook event called "April 30th: Fall of Saigon (All You Have to Do is Wear Black On This Day)." It's certainly a good gesture and I will be wearing my black all day. But from reading the wall posts, I'm saddened that so many in my generation who are oblivious to the fact that today is not about hating the Viet Cong.

 

I'm a second-generation American of Vietnamese descent. I was born and raised in the Denver metro area. For me, today isn't supposed to be a day of anger and resentment about a time and place that I know only through stories.

 

Today is a day to honor those who made the tough journey to America. It is a day to honor our parents, aunts and uncles and all those who had to build a new life for themselves in a country that was foreign with a language they didn't understand. It is a day to honor the perseverance of these individuals who had to work at the jobs no one wanted in order to scrap and save money so that their family, their children could possibly have better opportunities in life.

 

When my parents came over from Vietnam, they worked incredibly hard to allow my siblings and me the opportunities to get an education and pursue a career of our choosing. They worked to give their kids a chance at something they didn't have themselves.

 

To all my second- and subsequent-generation Vietnamese-American brothers and sisters, don't use today as a day of hatred and sorrow – there was more than enough of both to last several lifetimes during the war. Instead, I want you to thank your parents, thank your grandparents, thank your aunts and uncles, everyone who powered through the adversity in front of them so that you have the opportunities you have today.

 

Joe Nguyen is the editor of AsiaXpress.com. He can be reached at joe@asiaxpress.com.

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