01. The Night We Left Saigon
For 40 years, I’ve longed for a homecoming
To live in Vietnam for my life’s remaining years.
My hair is fading like the morning dew’s fate,
But life is still full of challenges I must face.
1975 was the year I fled my country
As a single young sailor of 25, he was me.
Forty years later, now you know my age.
My life now is like an old silkworm’s fate.
On the night of April 29th, 1975,
We sneaked out of Saigon a few hours before midnight.
The Bach Dang Navy Headquarters were never in the dark,
HQ-11 quietly pulled up her anchor, ready to depart.
People stood still, glued to their weary eyes.
To the flag of South Vietnam still unknowingly waving high.
The crew worked frantically
Hoping to reach the freedom shore safely.
The navigational crew focused on their task.
While Captain San made sure the ship steered safely.
She glided by, hugging the waves in darkness
As Bach Dang River was meandering to meet its ocean kin.
We reached Vũng Tàu by daybreak on April 30, 1975.
A thick air of suspension suffocates our fear.
Standing by the radio for the inevitable news:
Saigon’s surrender was our biggest fear.
“I’m President Dương Văn Minh
Calling all soldiers of the Republic of South Vietnam
To lay down your weapons for the sake of peace
For Saigon has been seized by the North Vietnamese.”
It’s over! All my hopes and dreams.
What was left of my five years of service?
Only my dog tag still hung on my neck.
And the soiled Navy uniform that begged to be shed.