The shirt had a photo of the “Statue of Liberty”, the famous icon of the United States showing the ideal of humanity: Freedom and Democracy.
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After the Vietnamese Communists occupied South Vietnam, being a Lt Colonel in the South VN Army, I was detained in various labor camps in the far mountainous areas of North VN for nine years. Then I was released in 1984 but remained under the close supervision of the local security service for two years. Finally I was acknowledged as a new citizen of the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and basically had the right to vote.
In 1987, a general election for the National Assembly was initiated across the country. Unfortunately all candidates were required to be primarily selected by the local communist branches, that means no independent candidate was approved, something that was strange compared to my experiences of elections in the free world. Disagreeing with that policy of election, I voted blank in protest. But wait there’s more!
I went home disappointed but one man’s kind action helped us own a four-bedroom house!
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In 1990, my six-person family emigrated and resettled in Canberra. We had to donate our highly valued house (worth an estimated $900,000 AUD now) in Vietnam, in exchange for our passports.
It’s an important Asian tradition to own, says the proverb, “A house to live and a grave to die.” But wait there’s more!
The drought of happiness has finally ended after long lonely years! (In picture, hiMe’s family arrived at Canberra Airport in November 1990 aboard an Australian Airlines flight from Sydney: her Dad, her younger sister, her Mum (wearing glasses), her youngest brother and her youngest sister.)
<<Facts, pictures and video clips related to this story – The Humanitarian Operation that let political prisoners to immigrate to America.>>
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30/4/1975 was the day of the fall of Saigon and because he was a Signal Corps Lieutenant Colonel of the South Vietnam Army, my father spent ten years in various hard labour camps. On release, he was issued a “TEMPORARY RELEASE” paper which meant that he could be re-arrested at any time for any reason. Moreover, every week for two years, he had to present himself at the local police station to report what he did, where he went, whom he met during the week. During that two years, he was not considered a citizen of his birth country and wasn’t allowed to work. Even after he was restored his “Citizen Rights”, with his background, no one wanted to hire him. But wait there’s more!
<<Story related to the information>>
The Humanitarian Operation (HO) Program began in 1989 with an official agreement between the United States and Vietnam in regard to Vietnam’s political prisoners. After 1975, the newly instated regime sent one million Vietnamese military officials from former South Vietnam to re-education camps, in actuality forced labor locations. In 1983, the United States began negotiations for release of these political prisoners. The Vietnamese government agreed to their release if the United States government allowed them to immigrate to the United States. The in-country processing program started in 1989 and former political prisoners began to arrive in 1991. But wait there’s more!
I assured the Ambassador Chief of Delegation that the communication system between Paris and Saigon would be restored soon before the Conference should have started the next day.
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The Paris Peace Conference started in 1968 and ended in 1973, with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords for a settlement of peace in Vietnam.
The conference was held at the International Conference Hall on Avenue Kléber, Paris every Thursday. A Military Intelligence Team and a Signal Team were attached to the South Vietnam Delegation, which was located on Avenue Raymond Poincaré, Paris. But wait there’s more!
I used to be a commander. Ten years in jail and two decades later it was panic on the first day in my job.
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My family resettled in Canberra in November 1990 under the sponsorship of our daughter hiMe, who worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
I was 57 years old then. I needed a job to support my family. I was a graduate Electronics Communications Engineer at the US Army Signal School, so I applied with Telstra.
Telstra accepted my application but I didn’t hear from them for a long time. But wait there’s more!
I had to choose between my own safety and my family. I chose my family. (Picture owned by Timothy D. Timothy D at the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarter) room of the Fort Monmouth Signals School, New Jersey, USA in 1973.)
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30/04/1975, the day I lost my country, my identity as a soldier, and was torn between my own safety and my family.
I was Lieutenant Colonel working at J6 Joint General Staff (Signal Communications) – Headquarters.
I applied for family evacuation, reserved for high-ranking officers through the American Advisory Group. But wait there’s more!