On April 15th, Project MotiVATe focused our monthly event in remembrance of the 43rd anniversary of the Fall of Saigon.
Organized primarily by our Study Hall coordinator Lê Duy Việt, we had mentees interview their parents about their respective memories and experiences during and after war prior to the event.
We began the event by having mentees and staff get together and discuss what they learned about the war from their parents’ perspectives.
After the guided group discussions, we proceeded to visit three significant areas within the Vietnamese American community in Orange County: Sid Goldstein Freedom Park, Vietnamese Boat People Memorial, and Phở 54.
At Sid Goldstein Freedom Park, mentees were briefed over the significance of how Vietnamese refugees and immigrants have compared their sacrifices to that of American soldiers, as well as the memorial continuous flux of meaning, agreement and disagreement as demonstrated by the construction and design of the memorial.
At the Vietnamese Boat People Memorial, mentees were briefed over the scale of how many lives were lost at sea during the refugee diaspora post-1975. Mentees and staff had the opportunity to meet the commissioners of the Boat People statue, Trần Ái Cầm and Thái Tú Hạp, as they paid their condolences.
Lastly, to close out the monthly event, we took mentees to Phở 54. Before embarking on our late lunch, mentees and staff were briefed over the implications and historical significance of different Phở restaurant nomenclatures – specifically with regards to the years 1954, 1963, 1968, and 1975 during the Vietnam War.