Monday, November 12, 2007

VOANews: 25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Wall

Last night, I listened to the VOA's Names Are Read to Mark 25th Anniversary of Vietnam Veterans Wall. All of a sudden I thought, "I wonder what happened to my POW/MIA?".

When I was freshman in high school, the Viet Nam war was coming to the end. A classmate, Molly Olds, who was an "army brat", convinced me, a Catholic "peacenik", to wear a POW/MIA memorial bracelet. The name on my bracelet: Richard R. Perricone.

I never knew what happened to this POW, so I "googled" Perricone. There he was on the POW Network--free and alive--living in New York with his wife. Wow! I hope he is in Washington DC this weekend with his fellow vets. I hope he knows peace.

The VOA story also brings to mind one of my students, Nguyen Kiem Long, formerly of the South Viet Nam Air Force and the Milpitas Adult School Senior ESL Class. He is currently in New York attending to family business, and I and his classmates miss him so much. He is a living example of a free and prosperous Viet Nam.

I also honor Do Ngoc Xuan, a farmer forced to flee the South and join the army. After working the night shift, he comes to the Senior ESL class every day in preparation for US Citizenship--the ticket to freedom for his relatives still in Viet Nam. His goal is shared not only by the Vietnamese students at our school, but by the immigrant communty at large.

On Veterans Day, let us remember the US service men and women, and our allied commrade-in-arms, fighting for the freedom of their own country.


DoGooder said...

Richard Perricone was in DC for the weekend. He was an honored guest of the Vietnam Veterans of America and made a speech during the opening ceremony before the parade. His speech was so moving that I made a point to speak to him at a cocktail party later that night. He looks great and well adjusted. He lives in FL now.

US Citizenship Podcast said...

Dogooder--I am so amazed that you found this blog and left news about Richard Perricone. Bless you and all your good works. Please pass along my deepest regards.

tinkerbellchime said...

What an amazing coincidence. I'm glad Richard Perricone is alive and well. I wish I had heard his speech. What a wonderful post. Thanks to all the veterans.

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VegasGal said...

The Internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I Googled Richard Perricone just yesterday after a conversation coworker/veteran. I also wore Ssgt. Richard Perricone's bracelet from Jr. High School through the time it broke into two pieces - about a week before I read in the newspaper that he'd been released and was back home. Another blogger I just wrote to said she now knows of three of us who wore his POW bracelet. They issued duplicates for each soldier as there were so many of us back home wanting to honor them. Such a long time ago, but I'll bet it sometimes feels like yesterday to the men who endured it.

Kathy said...

I just found my Richard Perricone POW bracelet. I got it in Jr. High I guess as I am 49 now! I googled him on line and got his capture/imprisonment story. I got tears in my eyes. My son is 22 and spent 6 weeks in Vietnam last year on a Wake Forest U. school learning trip. Thank God he wasn't there at another time for another reason. I just got a chill. There must be quiet a few of us with Richard's bracelet.