For the second year in a row students in Mr. Sylvester’s American Literature and Mr. Sultan’s US History courses interviewed seven people whose lives have been touched by The Viet Nam War in different ways. As a part of this project the students, who are part of the AVID program, also read the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
Of the seven interviewees, two were Vietnamese citizens who lived through the war before immigrating to the US, and five were US military veterans. Four were family members. Below are links to all of the individual interviews. Please click on the photograph of the interviewees below to visit their individual pages. To read more about the interviews, click on the tabs below.
Father Thuan grew up right as the American involvement in the Vietnam war was beginning to reach its peak. Living in Saigon, he escaped much of the violence that overwhelmed the countryside. He did, however, survive bombing by the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive in 1968. In this interview he discusses how the war affected his childhood, his view of his country and his decision to leave after the North Vietnamese take over. Father Thuan is a Catholic priest and currently lives in San Francisco, but maintains close contact with Vietnam through his organization; Blind Vietnamese Children Foundation
Floyd Piper is a native San Franciscan, who was drafted into the war at the age of 21. In this interview he discusses his experiences in the war, from every day life to specific battles that he encountered. Mr. Piper formed some close bonds with his fellow soldiers and rose to the rank of squad leader. The war affected him deeply, in his own words making him “more serious”. He is very open about his experiences and even reflects on the beautiful experiences he had, including seeing stars that he had never been exposed to while growing up in a city.
Tina Le lived in Da Nang during the war, and lost family members to the violence. Her life and that of her family was dramatically affected by the war, and even more so after the communist take over following the 1975 US withdrawal. During the war she worked helping supply the US Air Force, and after the US troops were gone, she lived in fear that the North Vietnamese would find out and put her in prison. Finally in 1977 she escaped on a small fishing boat. Pregnant, and with 23 family and friends, they made their way across the sea, guided by whales- eventually landing in Hong Kong. She lives in the US now and owns her own restaurant. She visits Vietnam regularly, having gone back in January of this year.