The General Homer Smith Prize

Honoring a U.S. citizen's distinguished contribution which makes one proud to be an American

                                                                                                                                                     Ngoc Hue, High School girl, Saigon, 1975

The Girl on the Roof Photo by Linh Duy Vo / June 17, 2001                                                     


A Poet's Journey

My wife Monique and I attended a church retreat, Marriage Family Enrichment, on June 9, 10 and 11, 2000.

There, I was inspired, and I later wrote a deeply blessed poem, "Lay Chua."  In English, "Dear God".

I shared the gift poem with the 30 couples with whom my wife and I were; receiving an indescribable enlightenment which now lives on within our marriage.

November 17, 18 and 19, 2000, we came back to the beautiful hill of Marywood of this city of Orange, California.  We joined other former participants to help with chores in making the retreat a most warm and loving welcome one. On Sunday the 19th, a woman came and gave me a simple Thank You card; but the note inside spoke with love and sincerity.  She thanked God for the poem I had written and shared.  Enclosed was a brandnew twenty-dollar bill. (Later I put it in the church offering).

My wife and I were moved by her gesture.  My small reciprocation was my book of poetry, "To America, Love and Gratitude."

Things happened for a reason.  Only God can plan.

The simple drawing in brush-and-ink I did in the book brought her to tears.  The unforgettable helicopter patiently waiting for the Vietnamese refugees on the roof of a safehouse on Cach Mang Street of Saigon on the 29th of April, 1975, was her Guardian Angel!  She, a teenage student, was waiting inside that chaotic place from 10:00 AM until the chopper took her off the roof to the U.S. naval carrier at 5:00 PM.

Twenty-five years later, the image of the life-giving helicopter was recaptured in the black ink, at a most moving moment for my heart and soul.  And it recaptured the heart of "The Girl on the Roof"...

Father's Day, Sunday, June 17, 2001, it was a sunny afternoon.  At the very same church retreat place, while a city of America was lying peacefully in a distance down the hill, my wife and I presented to Ngoc-Hue Lily Nguyen the drawing of an American wingless Angel: The Helicopter on the Roof.

Linh Duy Vo

Happy Fourth of July, 2001 


Copyright by Linh Duy Vo.  All rights reserved.