Lời Giới Thiệu: Bài viết sau đây được viết vào năm 2001 bởi một sinh viên 17 tuổi, sinh trưởng tại hải ngoại. Xin được chia xẻ cùng quý vị toàn cầu nhân tháng tám tưởng niệm những anh hùng Kháng Chiến Quân Việt Nam.
On Sunday, August 26, 2001, I, like thousands of other people around the world, attended the memorial service for Admiral Hoang Co Minh. Before I attended the service I invited a few friends, all of college age, to come with me. They refused however, some explaining that they did not know anything about the man and other refusing because they associated him with the National United Front For the Liberation of Vietnam, war, and things that had already passed, having nothing to do with them.
In truth, what they said made sense. The last time I had heard someone speak of Admiral Minh was when I was about five or six years old. Knowing today that he passed away in 1987, the year that I was only three or four years old, I have to agree with my friends; the things Admiral Minh did fall under a time that no longer has anything to do with my generation. Despite all this, I still went to his memorial service because some part of my greatly admired the man and his comrades.
When I entered the hall in San Jose, California where the ceremony was held, I saw a very strange thing; there were numerous people wearing brown shirts. It has been a very long time since I have seen anyone wearing the brown shirt that signifies membership in the National United Front For the Liberation of Vietnam. Seeing the shirt, I slowly saw images of the South Vietnamese flag waving in the air and banners demanding freedom for Vietnam run through my mind. I was reminded of a simpler time from my childhood, a time where life just seemed better.
As the ceremony began I found it very difficult to be emotional. Part of me was even bored, due to the fact that everyone who spoke referred to things and events that I had no knowledge of. All I knew was that I had come to the memorial service because I admired Hoang Co Minh and that I had a certain affection for the brown colored shirt of the United Front. But when it came time for the slideshow portion of the ceremony and I was confronted with the images of Admiral Minh and his comrades I was very touched. And when I heard the song “This Century is Our Century” written by Vo Hoang, I realized why I had such high regard for Admiral Minh and those who wore the brown shirt of the United Front. When I was younger, too young to remember clearly, my parents often took me to protests and I greatly enjoyed the experience. In those moments that we demanded human rights and democracy for Vietnam, the image of the person on the street wearing the uniform of the United Front was rooted into my mind and my heart.
Uncovering this hidden link to my past, I became very attentive so that I could learn anything and everything about Admiral Minh and a time that I only partly recall. By the end of the service I had come to understand a number of things. I understood that Admiral Minh had been able to escape Vietnam and come to America. But not being able to find happiness with his personal life when the lives of his countrymen were in despair under a communist regime, he returned to Vietnam. There, Admiral Minh founded the National United Front For the Liberation of Vietnam with the hope of ensuring a better life and brighter future for the people of Vietnam. On the 28th of August 1987, Admiral Minh heroically gave his life on a trip returning to Vietnam to further his cause.
As a child my parents often told me stories of the numerous heroes of Vietnam such as Tran Quoc Toan, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Tran Hung Dao, etc. Hearing about their bravery and sacrifices, I was extremely proud to be Vietnamese. I had not realized that even in our times such a hero could be found.
Over twenty years ago Hoang Co Minh started an honorable movement. He wanted to collapse the communist regime in Vietnam through a nationwide revolution and rebuild the country into one based on the ideals of freedom and democracy. Although his methods may not be relevant today, his dream is still as relevant as ever.
In this day and age where technology rules and everything comes so easily to the individual, role models are surprisingly difficult to find. Despite the fact that he has passed away for fourteen years now, Hoang Co Minh was a role model for my parents’ generation, and if only we are willing to learn, he could very well be a role model for my generation.
What could today’s Vietnamese youths learn from Hoang Co Minh?
Being young people, we are always finding our place on this earth, always finding a cause to believe in. Admiral Minh has given us a more than worthy cause. What we young Vietnamese people must learn from Mr. Minh is his love of country and his sense of duty. All Vietnamese people have a responsibility to Vietnam. But we of the younger generation living outside Vietnam, who has had the opportunity to grow up in a free society and fully develop our potential, especially have a responsibility to Vietnam. We must take advantage of the opportunities presented to us and make something of ourselves, so that one day when Vietnam is a democratic society, we can bring the opportunities that we had back to those in Vietnam who were not as fortunate. Only Vietnamese people will look out for the well being of Vietnam. Living in a free society and having the means to do so, if we do not do something about the future of Vietnam then who will?
Over twenty years ago Hoang Co Minh had a vision of a Vietnam that was at peace and that was worthy of the respect of the world. Although Admiral Minh has given his life in pursuit of this vision, his spirit as well as his dream still lives within the generation before me, and it still lives within me. I hope that other Vietnamese youths around the world will also share Admiral Minh’s dream and will act in some way to see that this dream becomes a reality.
In the twentieth century Hoang Co Minh started a movement to bring freedom and democracy to Vietnam. I believe that the young Vietnamese people of today, by our own means, will finish what he began. Although Admiral Minh and his comrades have died paving the way, their dream and spirits are still with us today. Without a doubt, their cause will be taken up by younger generations.
Lan Hoang Nguyen
August 28, 2001