Hien, 83 — Memories in Smoke

Hien, 83 Memories of the War, Hoi An, Vietnam
Giving Hiển his photo


Hiển was so hap­py to receive his pho­to and hung it up inside his house. When we returned on Tet (Lunar New Year) he was hav­ing a big fam­i­ly gath­er­ing and they all wel­comed us in like fam­i­ly. Hiển was proud of his pic­ture and show­ing it off to his fam­i­ly of 40+ peo­ple. I even glanced at one of his sons tak­ing a pic­ture of it and post­ing it on Face­book. They knew I’d giv­en it to them and they seemed excit­ed to meet me and insist­ed on drink­ing beer and eat­ing together.

Hiển lost his entire fam­i­ly dur­ing the Vietnam/American War. Now here he is in his lat­er years with a huge fam­i­ly of chil­dren and grand­chil­dren all com­ing togeth­er to cel­e­brate the Lunar New Year togeth­er. We’re grate­ful we can be a part of this and add a bit more hap­pi­ness into his life.

Remembering the Vietnam-American War
“I was up in the moun­tains with my 4 broth­ers fight­ing in the (Viet­nam — Amer­i­can) war to pro­tect our coun­try. They were killed. My dad was in prison for pro­tect­ing our coun­try. My mom was killed by a bomb. Now I’m the only one alive.”

Some­times, when I think about that I’m very sad. If they were alive, we could live hap­pi­ly togeth­er.” (He kept silence for a few min­utes. His eyes full of sad­ness). “How­ev­er, I always try to live pos­i­tive­ly. Life is short, so we should live our life happily.”

Now I am retired. I am nei­ther rich­er nor poor­er than any­one else. It’s hard to live hap­pi­ly when we com­pare our life with the rich. But when I look back, I see there are many peo­ple who have a hard­er life than I do.”

Hiển, 83 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam

Hien with photo Alden Anderson

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