My dad, a lawyer, served in the South Vietnam Army. As the communist in the North united the country by force in 1975, they put my father in a hard labor reeducation camp for 7 years. Later, at the fall of the communism in the Eastern Europe in 1990, the U.S. government allowed these people with their families immigrating to the United States. The South Vietnam won the lottery! Under the communist regime, those families were in hardship. Their children couldn't be allowed to have a higher education (college). I had this excuse to get out country by boat in the summer 1985, but I stayed in Saigon since then. The college bar was lifted in 1989 at the Germany's unification. And until 1994, the U.S. established the normal relationship with Hanoi and lifted the embargo in economy.
In America, we strived for many successes:
- My older sister, Nhu-Ha, graduated Summa Cum Laude (with STRAIGHT A's) from Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Chemistry in May 1998. She now is married with Bao-Toan Vuong, an Industrial Engineer in Dallas, Texas.
- Also in May 1998, Hieu-Duc (myself) graduated Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University, then headed to Kentucky for a 6-month training with Honeywell Inc.
- Also in May 1998, my younger sister, Ngan-Ha received acceptances into two (2) Doctor of Pharmacy programs while she has just completed the second year in college. One special note about her is that she graduated highschool with STRAIGHT A's in all four years. I still confuse why she didn't earn the title of "Valedictorian" of her graduating class.
An updated note: in May 2002, Ngan-Ha graduated Magna Cum Laude in Doctor of
Pharmacy from Mercer University (Atlanta, Georgia). She now works for Kroger's
pharmacy. She was promoted to pharmacy manager in one year. She got married
last October in Montreal, Canada. Her husband, Thanh-De, is a dentist-orthodontist and also an instructor at University of Montreal.
As of May 1998, we achieved the American Dreams in 6 years. It is an extraordinary success story of a new IMMIGRANT family. As recalled on this event, I was surprised that our story was not recognized on any of our schools' publications or our local newspaper. Three years earlier, our Vietnamese fellow, Mr. Hoang Nguyen, a South Vietnamese Army Officer was featured widely on our school's publications as well as on our local newspaper- The Tennessean, for his outstanding achievement in completing both his Bachelor and Master degrees in Chemistry for four years.