The lady who wrote this and then read it to the crowd of people gathered at the Wall in Washington DC on Memorial Day 1999, is a former citizen of South Vietnam. Her name is Yung Krall.
I REMEMBER YOU
Sent: Monday, 31 May, 1999 08:03
Subject: I REMEMBER YOU
Memorial Day, 1999
At Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Not long ago… a lonely American soldier in Vietnam wrote: “To those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.”
My brothers and sisters, you’ve been there… you know the flavor and it often brings tears to your eyes.
I’m honored to join you today to remember the men and women who loss their lives for freedom.
Just bring up the word Vietnam, you can see and hear different emotions and different opinions. Vietnam can bring you joy, sadness, nightmare, love, hate and even shame to many people.
The Vietnam experience makes you proud, but it has left a hole in your soul forever.
When you responded to a call for help, you went to Vietnam as freedom fighters. There was time to kill the Communist; there was time to build. You built schools, bridges, highways, and you even rebuilt homes that the VC destroyed.
You brought life back to the living.
You built friendships, you touched our lives, you felt in-love with the children, and in some rare quite moment, you fell in-love with my country.
I remember when American soldiers came to Vietnam… There were smiling faces of young soldiers. I remember the soldier short hair cut, your uniform. Oh yes, those round eyes, blue, green, hazel eyes that I met for the first time in my life.
I remember one day, my friends and I walked home from school, a young American soldier slowed down his Jeep to let us through, he and other soldiers whistled at us, my face turned red, other girls covered their mouths and giggled.
I realized that, the soldiers were about my age, yet they were in harm’s way, ten thousand miles away from home.
I bit my lip and held back my tears. I didn’t know how to say “thank you for coming to save us” in English then.
When the war escalated… I saw your blood, I felt your fear, and I tasted your tears.
My teachers left us and went to war, my classmates joined the military: many didn’t come back. I thought my blood was precious when I gave it to a wounded Vietnamese soldier; he died with my blood in his veins.
I met a 22-year-old American girl who came to Vietnam with her nursing skills and her compassion: she reminded me of stories I read about Florence Nightingale. A year later, she hugged me goodbye, she went home in a 44-year-old broken soul woman.
I remember so clearly, that morning I had SOS for breakfast where I worked with two American Navy pilots; one came back to the BOQ that evening, the other didn’t make it. One cried for his fallen comrade, I cried for being alive.
I do not eat SOS anymore!
In my soul, these images are as vivid as the day you came to Vietnam and as painful as seeing the body bags being sent home to their love ones.
I carry these memories and the spirit of the Peace Warriors, I’m living the life I asked them to give me, and I cherish the freedom they died for.
You all were the beacon of hope when you came to Vietnam, and you gave us more than 19 years of freedom, that’s one whole generation of the South Vietnamese people.
You are the example of patriotism, honor, and courage.
You are the Red, White and Blue.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and my people thank you.
Memorial Day is not only a picnic, America!
It’s a day we come together to honor our fallen soldiers, to let them know that country and honor still matter to us.
We should come together each year to compare notes, to see how well we take care of this great country.
The Veterans built the Vietnam memorial, not the government. The government had already forgot the war and the veterans.
58,176 deaths… 2,266 MIAs. These are not just numbers; they are sons and daughters of the United States of America.
And now we know… when our leaders wanted to fill the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, they took a body of a young son, a brother, a fallen comrade from the Vietnam Theatre and filled the tomb to satisfy the politicians. When they got caught lying, they said to Captain Michael Blassie’s mother “we are sorry”.
Sorry are our leaders who betray our veterans. Sorry is President Clinton who put business and diplomatic relations with the Communist in Vietnam before the POW and MIA. Before human rights in Vietnam.
The Vietnam experience can also give us a good idea as whom we can count on, who will stand up to defend our family, our community and our nation.
It is unforgivable for any American who takes this country for granted; it is unforgivable for any American who betrays our veterans and our men and women the Armed Forces.
America is a great country, and American people are decent people. We teach our children not to lie, not to cheat, not to steal, don’t forget to say thank you. We also teach our children to be faithful and to keep their promise.
My friends, our country needs you again. We need you to remind our leaders of these basic principles. Whether it is Mr. McNamara and his crowd or Madame Albright and her superiors.
Power is like cancer… it kills!
Politicians with uncontrollable power make wars, soldiers make sacrifices, and taxpayers do the damage control.
Who was that famous anonymous person that said: “if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” He lied…
Look around you; we are stronger today, yes. The damn war didn’t make us stronger. We are stronger because we have been there for each other all of these years.
It’s about time our leaders in this country are there to serve our veterans and our nation.
To honor the dead is to respect the living.
I would like to think that your love ones, fallen comrades and my own younger brother are in heaven smiling down at us today and always as we always remember them.
God bless you all. And God bless America.
©Copyright 1999 by Yung Krall