I was 8 years old when Saigon fell – we saw desperate citizens swarming the American Embassy and helicopters – pleading for safe passage to a better life. It was hard to watch, but I was too young to comprehend what I was seeing, and could not imagine these lives ever intersecting with my own.
This week I began my second year of the Episcopal Church’s 4-year Education for Ministry program (EfM). This year our theological studies and reflections will be viewed through the prism of “Living Faithfully in a Multi-Cultural World.” Having grown up in one of the most culturally-homogeneous environments imaginable this will present unique challenges for me.
In my EfM seminar is a lovely Vietnamese woman who as a child was aboard the last helicopter out of Saigon. Today she runs an organization she founded in Worcester which provides care and support for the children of immigrants and refugees. Finding these photos of those final days in Saigon have helped me understand the context of her life more clearly. I look forward to calling her a friend on our shared and personal journeys of discernment.