"My twentieth Thanksgiving, 1995, is approaching while I am writing this note; my note of thanks, of deep gratitude and love for all who created a unique America, for all who are her safekeeping. I have been mesmerized to the serenity of Thanksgiving Day, each time anew.
"The first trip I took to this forever moving place, the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., was on Thanksgiving Day 1987. I could only whisper, 'Help me do good things for America as you have given your life for me, Dad...'
"1995. Twenty years after the end of the Vietnam War. The memories live on inside me, as a parent and a poet. It's a father's honor to pass onto his children his most meaningful possession: GRATITUDE for America, whose FREEDOM is the ultimate liveliness--in his poetry..."
Excerpted from the "Preface" and "My Note of Thanksgiving" from the book "Dear Daddy,"
Copyright © 1995 By Linh Duy Vo, All Rights Reserved.
Editor's Note: Please access the "Bookshelf" in our "PX" main section if you wish to order "Dear Daddy."
K eep running girl, the communists have come
I have run many times burning inside
M y God, her body engulfed with napalm
P erished is her village nested in the countryside
H orror of cruelty caused by the Viet Cong
U ncovered with the Nationalists' air strike
C ommunism, War, Hell that is what's wrong...
You may have enjoyed your propaganda of my photo When the napalm hit me that was so fiery Your slogan of "liberating the 'enslaved' South Vietnam" Twenty years later, where is my Liberty? Now you know I have escaped to Canada On a flight from Russia to Cuba To be welcome in the embrace of Freedom My heart goes out to all fighters in the Vietnam War...
A serene photo of Kim Phuc sitting down next to the 2 displayed poems in bronze ("The Girl in the Photograph" and "Dear Ho Chi Minh"). She was reading the verses dedicated to her and the children of war. Linh Duy Vo, the loving poet, is also a child of war whose life is now dedicated to his Mission of Gratitude."
I secretly heard on the shortwave Your name is on the Viet Veteran Wall Proud of you, Dad You had died for Freedom and Justice for all.
Imagine your spirit flying high, Lest there won't be another time...
A loving sister came to the Wall Looking for her brother's name She touched the living image "Who's there?... we look much the same."
She caressed the etched soul "David R. Kink" Talking to herself... no, her dear brother Who went off to War, Vietnam, fighting for Peace Hiding tears from his eight-year-old sister.
Each Veterans Day she went to see her brother The black granite The green pasture The dew that blanketed the night.
She brought a flower for David's Birthday A whole world she had for her brother She held him in her heart He was born on the Eleventh of November...
[The translation follows this poem. We regret the absence of the accent marks with these Vietnamese words.]
CANH CHIM BANG
(Vinh danh nguoi chien si Viet Nam Cong Hoa)
Tung canh bac anh vuot ngan hai ly Mat troi hong quyen nang tham tang may Long bien sau rung nhip tho tung giay Con chim bang lao minh vao tran chien To Quoc oai linh doi anh xin dang hien Xin giu gin tung vach nui ven song Tung bo de, tung con lach xuoi giong La mach song trai deu bao the he Kia Viet Nam que huong anh ngao nghe Dang trai minh ben duoi canh anh bay Mot giai giang son mo rong doi tay Om vet thuong dua con vao cuoc chien Bon ngan nam bao van lan nguy bien Song nui thieng Viet Nam van con day Sao canh chim danh voi va chia tay Anh khong doi vay chao sau phi vu... May xam buon giang doi lu thu Nuoc biec sau dua canh chim bang... Vo Duy Linh
WINGS OF FREEDOM
(In dedication to the South Vietnamese Freedom Fighters)
Taking off, your silver wings swallowed thousands of miles Thundering into the red cloud mirrored the bright sun Beneath your wings lies the deep blue sea beating her heart Your jet war plane is piercing into the battles For your country, for freedom, you offer your life to martyrdom To protect her high mountains, her nurturing rivers Safekeeping each creek, each forever flowing stream Those are the lifelines throughout generations There! your country lies proudly before you Your beloved motherland with her two open arms Embracing her wounded heart: seeing her sons go into war Four thousand years, countless perils The blessed South Vietnam still exists But your broken wings hurriedly bid farewell You perished without whispers... Gray clouds sadly enveloped your wandering soul Dark oceans mourningly embraced your wings...