Thank you soldiers!

It's been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

It’s been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

Every year, I always buy the commemorative souvenirs for ANZAC, Remembrance Day and Legacy Week. The sights of those souvenir selling stalls at shopping malls make me feel bereft and grieving for the fallen Australian servicemen and servicewomen.

I didn’t have any memory of the Australian Army during the Vietnam war. The top two storeys above my family’s house together with the houses in two building blocks either side of An Dong market were occupied by the GIs. I was often given candies by the GIs passing by while I was playing outside my house. I remember fondly those American advisers who greeted me warmly when my father took me to his workplace at Saigon Headquarters.

I was very grateful to America for sending their forces to help South Vietnam fight the Communists. 

For a long time, America evoked warm fraternal feelings in me, as if it was a big brother looking after the young and bullied South Vietnam. I wanted to resettle in America after escaping from Vietnam. I was in deep sorrow after the September 11th attacks, just as if a very close friend was under attack.

In later years, when I connected to the Internet, I felt horrified to learn of the massacre at My Lai. Yet for that crime, what America did for the South was still too great to hate it.

I didn’t know of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war until four years after I arrived here. 

Given the co-operation between South Vietnam and Australia in the fight against the Vietnamese Communists, I expected warm greetings from my Australian acquaintances when I emailed them. I spoke of how proud I was of my father who always marched with other Vietnamese veterans on ANZAC day. Instead I was shocked when one wrote back telling me that all the wars were barbaric and there wasn’t anything so glorious about them.

At the writers group that I joined in recent years, I heard the phrase “all the way with LBJ” and realised that my stories about the South Vietnam before and after the fall of Saigon reminded the group of the Vietnam war, the war that most Australians hated to be involved with.

In conversations with an Australian friend, I was made aware that it was normal for South Vietnam and its people to like America’s involvement but Australia was reluctantly dragged into the war because of its subservient and dependent allied relationship with America. In my naïve mind until then both Australia and America were both free world allies but gradually I began to understand why Australia dislikes America. My friend also told me that Australians felt that the Vietnam war was not their war. I was upset to hear that Australia didn’t care about communism. I told myself that this was likely because Australia hadn’t experience communism before.

I have a friend whose son served in Afghanistan and now is suffering from PTSD and is afraid of sitting in a restaurant because of all the noises.

These days I feel I understand how Australians felt at the time. Unless it affects my now country – Australia – I wouldn’t like my teenage and adult sons to fight in a war between two forces from within the same foreign country just because of their different religious ideologies, even though one side is evil, because I don’t understand their religions.

There is an eternal struggle between good and evil. Should the world take responsibility instead of the greatest amongst the good to fight all the evils? I can see that America has been involved in too many conflicts due to the world’s perception of it as a “beacon and guarantor of freedom” as well as “the sheriff”. I wonder if America ever feels exhausted.

I wore my head band made of poppy flowers to work on the 100th Remembrance Day. I printed the poem “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon and placed it on a visible area on my desk so I could have an occasional glance at it. Besides the famous stanzas that are always 
recited at every remembrance ceremony, my favourite lines are:

“They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.”

It’s forever a deep desire inside me to express my gratitude from the heart to the dead and alive past Australian and American soldiers but I feel that my Facebook comments are not enough, that they will just conjure bitterness in the people who were conscripted and got wounded for their country. The people who received hostile receptions on their return from their own people, and now don’t get due care from the government that sent them to war.

To those that fought in the Vietnam war, I eternally want to say: “Thank you soldiers!”.

A Spring morning,
The grieving ode,
Does bring sorrow.
The inflow pain,
Shadow the Remembrance Day.

Men with blond hair,
Men with fair skin,
With bare courage,
The savage wars,
Ravage their souls and bodies.

To those who died,
Were denied thanks,
Who tried to fight,
Vietnam tight war,
Despite the plight, South Vietnam thanks you!
(Yadu-style poem)

Image credit
by June Yaham.

It's been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

It’s been a deep desire in me, for almost forever, to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart to the dead and alive Australian and American soldiers.

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10 thoughts on “Thank you soldiers!

  1. That is so interesting my ancestors arrived from UK to a little place recently taken by use good old British it was something of a village called Hong Kong that was in 1865 and 136 of my ancestors arrived to start afresh because of there catholic faith and itnolerance we also integrated within two generation by marrying into Chinese society unlike some British white tigers who came build there empires and related to such the swires my mother is Iranian and my late father is of HAN/CANTONESE BRIT mix and as children at the breakfast table as a child, My grandmother spoke Han, My father Cantonese and my mother Persian to me and my sibblings am one ten children so am Hime,sadley 3 of passed away one last chrismas and came back to HK just in time,But that is another story about Mei,As to your story and people being racist oh yes i been there my self about my mixed culture, when i was sent to boarding prepschool to UK at age 13,You be proud of your self and what you are HiMe and bollocks to that sad little narrow-minded bigots out there and two fingers to them, Yes am fluenet in two persian, Han and mandering and of course Cantonese and of course english and that was only used as langwage number 4 at home LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hime

    Please don’t lose heart,My father served in Burma as my father joined The Chindits and yes he said only an idiot like him would volunteer and he and another gentleman who escaped the invasion of HK by Japan and ended up in India like my father and my father served with three gentlemen who get the credit for jungle warfare,One was Fred Chapman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Spencer_Chapman,Edward Gopsill a very dear friend of my father http://www.gurkhabde.com/lieutenant-colonel-edward-gopsill-obituary-soldier-who-was-an-expert-in-jungle-warfare-and-later-campaigned-for-a-gurkha-memorial/ and Freddie who my father first met at camarirge and yes my father went to the same college also as the three traootrs of philby, Mclean and burgess and my father maths don was Anothony Blunt and yes my father was anti comminst in everyway and hated there click,the other solder again a wounderful man and my called mad as like many who served in the Chindits you had to be but he was called mike calvert http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/mad-mike-calvert-a-british-legend-in-burma/ but there are many other a could name and may went on to leave long lifes my father did he passed awy in may this year back at home in Hong kong at the age of 94,Man who ran the Chindits was mad man in his self he was called Ord wingett https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chindits,

    Many Anzacs, Brits, Indians and Nepalese and African and Canadian ETC served in the regiment and yes it was one of the worlds first special forces, But many of these and those who served went on to serve in UK other dirty little wars my dad also served in Korea as well, like many of them also and then there was the Malaysia insurgency were Brit and Anzacs spent 12 years working on,Its also identical in many ways to Vietnam,But it was fought as unconventional war and after the was borneo and fighting against inididonsia which was my father final war and ended in 1966 the year i was born and my mother told him if did not leave she would leave HK with 9 children and go back to iran,

    USA wanted the UK to join in with that complete balls up Dien Bien Phu because General Eisenhower would commit troops if Brits would not we said NO, Because we getting to break up the British Empire and give independence which was already had with Burma/India and then there was may Malaysia,

    The UK did offer help but that was more to do with something the UK does all very hush-hush, the UK had two training jungle warfare training camps where green berets and other US special forces were sent my father ran one of the schools for a year, Also the UK had had a massive GCHQ/MI listening station in HK that listened into China and all of Asia including Vietnam,Then it was said SIS/MI6 involvement well the UK embassy was across road from our yank cousins surprise surprise,the UK also supplied the USA with ordance and napam, Not many brits new that UK used and manfucterd napam,But UK was the first country to ever use it in WW2 and many had had no idiea to UK of supplying the USA for viatanam war,Deal was it was shipped quiltley from UK but had to be off loaded onto civillian ships in HK,MY family use have a shipping line and we did this,Manny in Uk had found out it would coursed a storm,

    As to the Anzacs, Over 2000 brits moved from the British army and joined the diggers and SAS regiments plus NZ who were from the royal artillery and kiwi have crack artillery units,As many had training just like the ANZACS

    But am thinking have you ever talked any diggers or SAS veterans who are now retired who served in Vietnam,

    As to Afghanistan and your friend son who has PTSD yes i served 5 tours there including the first invasion looking for the AQ scum and Taliban and yes so did Australian and New Zealand SAS as well plus our cousins from Canada as well it was like a commonwealth get toghter plus the US of course ,Am so sorry to hear of his awful condition that your friend son has, YEs get it from time to time from my specialist ops i had to do in Bosnia in the 1990s mine is more lucid in having bad dreams and nightmares when i sleep.i served 24 years and 5 months in UK army

    I just love your blog and a good friend of mine in the HK told me about it

    As to communism and Australia not caring about it, Beleive me after Korea,Vietnam, China and Malaysia THEY DID and many of my Chinese said of the family were murdered by moa communists and the Japanese as well, And as to the Japanese invasion and living under the French plus the wars your family had live through all that as well

    Am so sorry for my syntax and grammar as getting over a stroke

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Major for reading my blog post, telling me and other readers of your father’s and your own war stories as well as sharing with us the knowledge of WW2 and others. It brings me joy that you visited.

      Like

      • Hime i was reading about the Chinese area of Saigon were you lived and how the bloody communists extracted and robbed others of there property and moving them to economic areas how awful, Your mother was a smart lady closing her shop and times must have been tough for her and you and siblings with father in prison,You have my deepest deepest respect and yes i will be visiting each day and reading one of your articles each day,No thank you for sharing your amazing stories,May ask a question what part of china did your ancestors come from in china

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Major for reading this post. My mum’s father came from Chaozhou, China.

        I found this on the Internet:

        “The Teochew dialect (潮州話), by which the Chaozhou culture is conveyed, is one of the most conservative Han Chinese dialects because it preserves many contrasts from ancient Chinese that have been lost in some of the other modern dialects of Chinese.

        The dialect is spoken by about 10 million people in Chaozhou and approximately 2–5 million people overseas. Thirty percent of Chinese residents of Vietnam speak this dialect. Teochew people are the largest ethnic Chinese group in Thailand and Cambodia, and the second largest ethnic Chinese group in Singapore, after the Hokkien.”

        My mum is fluent in Mandarin, Teochew, Cantonese and Vietnamese. See the post “A Chimese Girl In Vietnam” – https://himevn.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/a-chinese-girl-in-vietnam-2/ – and “My Noble, Widowed Grandmother” – https://himevn.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/my-noble-widowed-grandmother/

        Like

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