In Memory of Hoang Mai
I attend the Flag Raising event on the 30th of April, also called "Black April", every year. I am always moved to tears when I remember the beloved sister I lost in 1979, especially during the Minute of Silence.
Before 1975, my sister Hoang Mai was employed by the US defense agency. This made her a victim of persecution and discrimination by the brutal Vietnam communist regime after they took power. The psychological turmoil and unjust treatment from the repressive domination regime forced her to make a difficult decision, to escape the "revenge" and embark on a journey to Freedom.
But tragically, she shared the same fate as hundreds of thousands of other unfortunate Vietnamese people. Her dreams were short lived and her beliefs and aspirations were never realized.
Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom, are basic rights for most people, but they were far out of reach for the hundreds of thousands of unfortunate Vietnamese who risked their lives searching for it. My dear sister Hoang Mai was one such person.
Looking back on the Spring of 1979 when Hoang Mai, along with ten others, began a foot journey through the jungle and back roads of Chau Doc, Vietnam to Thailand, I could not imagine how she found the courage and strength to get through this arduous and very dangerous road.
Perhaps this hidden strength can only be found when Democracy and Human Rights become scarce, and when discrimination and injustice become commonplace. Perhaps it is only when moral decency is gone that we find the inner strength to overcome the obstacles before us. I sincerely honour the courage and sacrifice that hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, including my sister, have made in their pursuit of Freedom.
My heart is fills with sorrow every time I think of my sister. The dictatorship's inhuman Vietnam communist regime had forced millions of Vietnamese to abandon their homeland and leave behind their love ones to face the unknown. They endure countless risks and danger, like those who became victims of Thai pirates, those that perished at sea, or those who were buried somewhere deep in the jungle, like my sister.
I pray for the souls of those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom, for the return of liberty and freedom to my home land and the end of Communist rule, and that the golden Ochna Integerrima (Mai) of Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights soon blossoms on all three regions of my beloved Vietnam.
Hoang Mai, a beautiful, delicate golden Ochna integerrima, your immortal spirit will always be in the hearts of our family.