Sâm, 97 — Loss and the Vietnam — American War

Sam, Vietnam American War Hoi An
Sâm, 97 — Hoi An, Vietnam

I had many kids (9 kids), but most of them died in the (Viet­nam-Amer­i­can) war . They (sol­diers) shot them. Now I just have 1 son and 1 daugh­ter left. Sev­en of my kids died. I didn’t fight dur­ing the war because I did­n’t know any­thing, I was just work­ing. I have been liv­ing here my whole life.”

Dur­ing the war, we had to run away. My hus­band died from a bomb in 1970. I brought my kids to the for­est. They were sit­ting there, the sol­diers thought they were their ene­mies, then they shot them. Four of my sons died at the same time. I always cry (think­ing about it). Every night, when I lay down in bed, I feel mis­ery and cry.” As she is telling us her sto­ry, her eyes fill with tears and a deep sad­ness then she looks right into my eyes and I begin to cry.

In this area, where my house is now, they were bomb­ing a lot, so we ran to the for­est. At night, they bombed. Who­ev­er died, died. My neigh­bor has 3 or 4 sons, but they are all still alive but 6 of my 7 sons were killed. That is my fate and I have to grit my teeth and endure it.”

Sâm, 97 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam

Returning to see Sâm
Sam and Trinh, Hoi An

We’ve spo­ken to many peo­ple who fought or were affect­ed by the Viet­nam-Amer­i­can War but nev­er have we wit­nessed such sad­ness. Sâm has out­lived 7 of her chil­dren, with a bro­ken heart, for almost 50 years, cry­ing every day.

Sam with care package

We returned to vis­it her with a care pack­age of food which she was very hap­py to receive. Talk­ing to Trinh cheered her up and she said: “You have such a sense of humor. I wish you lived near here so you could help me erase my sadness.”

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