Monday, September 14, 1998
".... My fellow citizens of the world: ask
not what America will do for you,
but what together we can do for the freedom
-- JOHN F. KENNEDY, 1961 Inaugural address
My Dear Daddy on the Viet Veteran Wall,
You gave your life to defend freedom and liberty in a country -- Vietnam -- with nothing for America to gain: no oil to drill, no gold to dig; just like the American mother who gave her four sons to war to fight for peace in "Saving Private Ryan."
Today, my dear adoptive country is in crisis. As your adopted son, America, what can I do to reciprocate your love and ultimate sacrifice for freedom for others and me.
I decided to write this letter to my "fellow citizens of the world":
Whether you are from England or China, Russia or Egypt, Vietnam or South Africa.... every corner of the world: You are eager to judge my new country, America, "based" on the personal moral crisis that my President is now suffering. His heart is now filled with a thousand thorns of repentance.
We are the people who put him there with our votes in this democracy. No one was denied of this precious human liberty in America. Only God knows why things happened the way we never wanted.
If the misery of my President is seen by you as the cup half-empty; then the pride of being an American is the cup half-full: Please see that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Ask the refugees from Vietnam, as I myself am one, what kind of repayment can one make to this nation for her open arms, embracing the war-suffering refugees, whose motherland was lost to the world of slavery. The new Communist government, named Hanoi, pushed its own people out to die in the cruel South China Sea; only one-half found themselves alive and welcomed to the shores of freedom. And America has been the largest home for the Vietnam Exodus.
I have found myself so fortunate to flow in the same river of multicolored immigrants, from all corners of the planet Earth. They all have one thing in mind: freedom in America.
They are now my fellow American citizens. Wherever you are under the sun, there's always one man of your race and nationality who has adopted America and made this country his home.
Please judge my President as a man, but do not judge America by his shortcomings: I judge my former country, Vietnam, not by "Uncle" Ho's countless young mistresses, nor China by Chairman Mao's troops of teenage female sex servants.
I am proud to be among all the Americans who stand up and rebuke our leader. I am proud to look up to the blue skies and ask my President to repent and to make restitution for his human mistakes.
Who dared to say it to Uncle Ho or "National Father" Chairman Mao?
May my heart always respect your country and people.
May my prayers be said to you, whose fates are under the rulers who make their own rules.
With Hope and Peace,
Linh D. Vo
(The Boy in the Poem)
The letter was sent to the White House and American Viet Vets.
© Copyright by Linh Duy Vo. All rights reserved.