Welcome to episode 9 of the Weekly Gaucho Podcast!
Let’s take a moment to travel back in time, to the Vietnam War with me. Imagine that you are living in a happy family in the 1970s. Your father was in Vietnam to support the U.S. Army. After years of waiting, he eventually came back alive and continued the beautiful memories with you. Everything is great, but your father doesn’t seem to be open about the war. It’s understandable that war is not something to be proud of, but you may have left something behind. “Was he… in a relationship with a Vietnamese woman there?” “Or did they… even have a child together?” In today’s episode, we’ll take a look at a part of the legacies that American soldiers left after the war – the stories of their secret, abandoned family in Vietnam.
In 2015, The Washington Post published an article revealing some stories of these unique figures. A man named Vo Huu Nhan had been separated from his American father for 40 years after the war. He grew up being teased by classmates and that made him want to fight back until his mom sadly told him that he was a mixed kid. He luckily found his father, a 67-year-old veteran named Bob Thedford, through DNA test results in 2013. The father and son eventually met through Skype video calls, and they were so happy to see each other again. Unfortunately, Nhan’s happy-ending story is different from the majority of the mixed kids. Van Son was abused by his step-father, unlike his 7 siblings before knowing about his true race. There were some that were strongly denied by either their American father or Vietnamese mother.
Memories of these American-Vietnamese children during the war are most likely to be filled with hatred, judgment, and self-deprecation. As the world moves on from its history, empathy and respect are always needed when we treat others. You may have a different appearance, race, gender, or opinion, but as long as you’re a good human, you deserve love.
Thanks for listening!
Sound source: Love, Sad Day, Slow Motion (Bensound.com)