40 years ago today, South Viet Nam fell to its neighbors from the North. Thousands of South Vietnamese tried to flee their country when the Communists took over. I was just a toddler then but my father was a South Vietnamese soldier and he remembers it vividly. The images of helicopters on roof tops carrying people away as many other tried to hop on mid-air still haunts those who were left behind. But the most famous image of them all was a little girl running in the middle of the street, naked, as she was hurt from the war.
I have limited memories of my few years in Viet Nam as a child. Like most children of that time, I have no sense of loss. All I have is sympathy for those who were lost, along with a great amount of sadness for the deterioration of a country. One country divided with two philosophies as thousands of families were torn apart. Millions of lives affected for generations. A history forever changed.
As both sides seem to claim victory and defeat, it would serve us better to realize that no one truly “win” in war. Most would be victims, not victors. It is a loss for all. My own family was divided and separated. Therefore, my hope for the future is that we learn to check our temperament, control our egos, continue to show respect towards others, not be so greedy, and anything that we can do to prevent so many wars. Death is permanent. There is no rewind. Let’s remember the tragedies of war so we don’t repeat it. Let’s hope Viet Nam remember its history and pray for peace for at least another 40+ years.
It’s with each day that we should celebrate the planet we live on, not just one day out of the year. Without Earth’s resources, we would not be able to procreate or enjoy our various lifestyles. As we continue to multiply in numbers, let’s try to remember our 3 R’s (as my son likes to say)- reduce, recycle and reuse. I love the environment I live in. I love the places that I can visit and show to my family. I love the natural food and clean water that I ingest because I live in one of the best places in the world. So let’s try to preserve as much of it as possible for our kids, grandkids, families, and friends (people, animals, plants, etc.) I find that once something is destroyed, it is much harder to rebuild than to just preserve its longevity from the beginning. Or, as my dental professors like to say during dental school, “just take time to do it right at the first go-around; so you don’t have to make time for it at the second go-around.” I hated that speech but I understood it under my heated breath.
As we start our day, remember to preserve our Earth so we could stop and smell the roses as we hastily pace through life. It’s Earth Day. Inhale the fresh air as we are lucky enough to have it.