We should look deeply into the heart of a person, trace back to the beginnings of their journey, then walk their footsteps. One must ask oneself, “If I was this parent, what would I do?”
Not too long ago, my family migrated across the sea to another continent fleeing persecution, internment camps, and possibly death. My parents didn’t meet in their home country, and if they never left, their paths likely would never have crossed each others. However, after the fall of Saigon on April 30th 1975, the North Vietnamese Communist would profile anyone who they felt was a threat to their new government. My father probably would have been killed, and who knows of my mother. So on parallel paths they escaped; my father as a war criminal who fought alongside the United States, and my mother as a maid for a rich family of the fallen South Vietnam. They separately voyaged an unknown journey to this continent called America—believed to be the “land of the free.” My parents soon met in Queensborough, New York and moved to Portland, Oregon, where 10 years after arriving, I was born.
When I think about my own existence, it is honest to say that Americans performed a great deed with holding accountability for its role in the Viet Nam War by allowing Vietnamese immigrants safe refuge and citizenship. However, I also realize that it was not simply the greatness of Americans that allowed my parents a safe place to survive and start a family. There is something deeper. It was because the people of America, the continent where my parents arrived at 40+ years ago, decided that they wanted their humanity to be great. And because humans chose the greater humanity, I was conceived and able to prosper into the man I am today.