“Fall of Saigon” remembered by refugees who lived it

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Forty years have passed since the fall of Saigon marked a vivid and official end to the Vietnam War. But for those who were there, like Ken Nguyen, April 30, 1975 is a date that feels like yesterday.

“Fall of Saigon” remembered by refugees who lived it

Forty years have passed since the fall of Saigon marked a vivid and official end to the Vietnam War. But for those who were there, like Ken Nguyen, April 30, 1975 is a date that feels like yesterday.

SOUNDBITE: Ken Nguyen saying (English):

“I still remember every moment of that time, pretty scary, explosions all over the place, gunshots, helicopters circling above us, our ship leaving Saigon and the fear of an attack by the communists along the river.”

Nguyen was among nearly a million to flee after North Vietnamese forces captured the South Vietnamese capital. He’s now among a group of Vietnamese-Americans who are organizing events to mark the anniversary in Westminster, California – the epicenter of Orange County’s “Little Saigon” which has the most Vietnamese-Americans per capita in the U.S.

Another refugee, Hieu Nguyen, says he lives everyday trying not to forget about his dad – an American G.I.

SOUNDBITE: Hieu Nguyen saying (English):

“I talked to my mom about it and she said when she was pregnant she went to the base to see him and she was told he was killed a few days ago driving a jeep after hitting a mine and he died. So, they sent his body back to America. She was pregnant with me, so I never got to meet him.”

After the evacuation, Camp Pendleton Marine Base became a center and temporary home for waves of South Vietnamese refugees who fled the communist forces.

SOUNDBITE: Ly Le saying (English):

“At the base, the marines were really helpful. In the pictures you can see that they are really frIendly to the kids and it was a process. Fortunately, it did not take too long even with the cultural difference and after a while we became friends.”

From April 29 through October 31, 1975 more than 50,000 Southeast Asian refugees passed through Camp Pendleton as part of one of the largest humanitarian airlifts in history.

Tags : Lived, refugees, Remembered, Saigon, fall

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