Why Orange County’s Vietnamese community voted in huge numbers

With our recent focus on the heavy turnout by Orange County’s Vietnamese voters I thought it would be useful to mention an upcoming speaking engagement by someone who often responds to our Orange Juice posts. Marine Corps Major Quang X Pham , author of “A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey”, will be appearing at Saddleback College’s Health Sciences Auditorium in Mission Viejo Wednesday Feb 21st at 7 PM. This event is open to the public and at no cost.

Over one million refugees fled from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. Many of these “boat people” feared the “re-education ” camps and chose to take their chances in cramming onto tiny ships for their journey to eventual freedom. Many settled in Orange County and became productive members of society. They appreciate their new home and the opportunities available to every US citizen. Having representatives of their community in elected office is a natural progression for which they deserve our support and congratulations.

Following is a book review that I found on the Internet:

A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey by Quang X Pham (Author)
More Than Just A Coming Of Age Story For a Vietnamese Refugee. , October 30, 2006
Reviewer: W. H. McDonald Jr. “The Military Writer’s Society of America / Author of: A Spiritual Warrior’s Journey” – See all my reviews The book “A Sense Of Duty: My Father, My American Journey” is really an American story about coming of age and about father son relationships but with a huge twist of circumstances. We are dealing with a family torn apart by the loss of the Vietnam War and their subsequent separation. Author Quang X. Pham is shipped to the USA after the fall of Saigon with his siblings and mother. His father who is a member of the South Vietnamese Air Force stays behind doing his duty to the very end. Thus begins 12 years of imprisonment in the so called “re-education camps” while his family adjusts to a new life in America.
The author deals with cultural and language issues and some degree of racism and bigoted treatment. However, the deeper issue for him is not having his father there for him. There is also his lack, at that young age, to fully realize the significance of what his father had done with his life and how well he had served his old country. The book is an eye opener for those of us who have wondered what it was like for these new comers to our shores.
When his father does come to the USA after being released from the “camps” he found it tough going. His marriage fell a part and he found that all those lost years with his children, who had grown up without him, have created a huge gap between them. His children do not really know or understanding who is or even who he was.
The book follows the growing appreciation and understandings that Quang eventually gains for his dad. As he learns more about his father’s past and sees his personal courage and sense of duty and what drove him to become the man he was. When the author himself wears the uniform of Marine aviator and fights in the Gulf War, he begins to gain more insights on the sacrifices that his dad had made for his own country of South Vietnam. We take this spiritual and emotional journey with the author as he gradually begins to sense what factors and motives drove his father on his own personal journey.
The book also details and addresses some old history from that time period and that war. Most Americans have either forgotten or never knew about our national attitudes and polices with regard to the war and lack of regard for our allies the South Vietnamese. It may make for some interesting but uncomfortable reading.
It is a well-written and poignant story that embraces two very different wars. His story unites two different generations into an emotional bridge between father and son. It is touching and deeply moving. The author does a great job of making the reader feel a part of the experience. This book receives the Military Writer’s Society of America’s highest book rating of FIVE STARS!
This book also receives my personal endorsement!


About Larry Gilbert