IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER —
The 2014 Memorial Day at Penn’s Landing brings a bittersweet memory for the Vietnamese American Community of Philadelphia.
After 39 years of refuge in the U.S., most of us are contented with our lives here — a life that none of us had planned. However, as the first generation of Vietnamese Americans, we live in this country on borrowed time. Deep down inside, we all are in pain with an aching heart, longing to return to the homeland where freedom remains a distant memory.
The yellow flag with three red stripes has become a relic of the Vietnam War that will forever remain a unique symbol of freedom. Millions of young Vietnamese men and women lost their lives fighting for it. Over fifty-eight thousand American soldiers perished, and hundreds of thousands were wounded while helping us to defend our democracy. Many people in our community have been dreaming of “homecoming” to a free Vietnam. They have been working tirelessly with the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Board to secure a monument for the flag of the Republic of South Vietnam. Their dream has come true on 2014 Memorial Day at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.
These individuals had persistently pursued a dream of having the Republic of South Vietnam’s heritage flag flying side by side with the American flag at Penn’s Landing Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I applaud the dedication and contribution of those who have served the Vietnamese community selflessly. They shall remain nameless; they have diligently and silently taken on this mission, considered their last, to make this dream a reality. They will forever remain unknown soldiers, and Penn’s Landing shall be their witness.
Listen! Our children. We know our work has yet to be completed, but we have done our best to lay the foundation for you. It is time for us to hand over the torch of freedom. The United States of America is your country, and you should say it proudly. Remember to honor and serve it with all your heart, just like we proudly served the flag of the Republic of South Vietnam to uphold the freedom it represents. You must never forget!
Our time in this free country is gradually coming to an end, but so much is waiting for you to finish. You must strive to do your best to make us proud. Our last wish is that you must first seek to excel in education and be the best you possibly can be in whatever field you want. After that, take advantage of the freedom this country gives you so you can provide for your own family and to become a contributing citizen of your country. Please do not take anything for granted because even freedom has its price. Aim high in your dream to become an outstanding citizen of this country, and then you can exercise your knowledge and influence to help build a FREE Vietnam.
We shall wait for that day to come so you can take us home even though after we are nothing but ashes.
From a father and an uncle.