Friday, April 30, 2010

35 years after the fall

Vietnamese civilians arrive aboard a U.S. carrier offshore during Operation Frequent Wind.
Don’t mean to be too obsessive about this, only to mention in passing that today is the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.

If we were playing the “do you remember where you were?” game, I could tell you about standing in the lobby of the post office in Thompson, Iowa, and talking about it with the postmaster of that time, a veteran of World War II.

The final assault began on the 29th and by the afternoon of the 30th, the North Vietnamese flag had been raised above the South Vietnamese presidential palace, the government capitulated and Saigon was Ho Chi Minh City.

The last U.S. personnel as well as some “endangered” Vietnamese had been evacuated by helicopter to U.S. carriers offshore in Operation Frequent Wind.

I’d come back four years earlier leaving behind let’s say 20-30 Vietnamese civilian co-workers at CDEC and friends, now as “enemy collaborators” in deep shit --- not to put too fine a point on it.

Some got out --- Mr. Suk, Nguyen Thi Niehm --- but I don’t know what became of most.

Then there were the 58,000 U.S. troops who had died, or were dying --- let’s say 38,000 in combat. For nothing.

Still pisses me off..

Hubert van Es's iconic photo of a UH-1 Huey loading frightened refugees on April 29, 1975, atop the Pittman Apartment Building, 22 Gia Long St., in Saigon, used as a residence by U.S. Embassy personnel.

No comments: