Archive for April, 2020

April 30, 2020 Post: Hope, Prayers, and Re-emergence – Words of Wisdom from General Cao Van Vien

Posted in IV. Columns with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2020 by Ian Pham
South Vietnamese flag at the Vietnam War Memorial in Westminster, California. Photo shared in accordance with the creative commons license CC BY-SA 2.0. (via InSapphoWeTrust)

There is a passage in Lewis Sorley’s book A Better War (1999). It comes at the very last sentence, on the very last page of the last chapter, before the epilogue. Here, Sorley shared a quote from the late and great South Vietnamese general, Cao Van Vien.

General Vien’s words were optimistic (p. 386):

“... hope and with prayers for the reemergence of a free South Vietnam in the not too distant future, a South Vietnam led by men of talent and high morals – the truly great leaders of Vietnamese history."

For me, General Vien’s words are more than just wishful thinking. They are a roadmap for the future. These words envision the birth and rise of a new Vietnamese nation, one that is independent, strong, and free.

As Vietnamese people all across the world come together to commemorate South Vietnam, we should view this late great nation as more than just a relic of our past, but a foundation for the future.

South Vietnam (the Republic of Vietnam) was a free country. It had a multiparty democratic electoral system, a free press, and a rapidly rising market economy. The Republic of Vietnam was a nation that respected human rights, and championed the fundamental freedoms of all people.

In terms of economics, education, and culture, South Vietnam was a leader of the Southeast Asian region. Its capital city Saigon was lauded as the “Pearl of the Orient.” People from all over the world came to view and experience its wonder and beauty.

Simply put, South Vietnam was a nation that its people could be proud of. It was a place that someone would be happy to hail from, and to look at with reverence and say, “yes, I am Vietnamese.”

Making all of this possible were the courageous soldiers of South Vietnam, the United States, and their coalition of allies. They fought, they sacrificed, and they gave everything that they possibly could so that the people of South Vietnam could enjoy freedom, safety, and security.

It is all of this that we come together to remember on April 30: The great nation of South Vietnam and the heroes who built and defended it.

Thanks to the legacy of South Vietnam, with all of its accomplishments and history, there is much to build off of once the communists are overthrown. And yes, the communists will be overthrown.

For the past 45 years, since the communists took over, they have proven to be useless, impotent, and incapable of leading the Vietnamese nation in any way. I will save my myriad criticisms of the communist dogs for another day. For now, I will simply say that their days are numbered, and that sooner, rather than later, the communists will be extinguished from Vietnam once and for all.

On this April 30, 2020, we Vietnamese come together to mourn and remember South Vietnam and its heroes. We thank the heroes for their sacrifices, and we thank the boat people, the brave refugees, for making that dangerous journey across the ocean to ensure freedom for generations to come, and to carry on the Vietnamese legacy.

Not only must we remember South Vietnam and its heroes, we must also learn from South Vietnam and its heroes. We honor, we commemorate, and we take to heart all that they have given us, using it as fuel for a bigger, brighter, and better future.

South Vietnam may be gone for now, but it will never be forgotten. The legacy that it left behind will be the blueprint for a new Vietnam, one that is proud, strong, and free.

Take it from General Vien, and believe that one day, not far from now, Vietnam will be free.

In one form or another, the Republic will return.

We will return.

*****

Cited:

Sorley, Lewis. A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1999.