Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Proud to be an American!

Vietnamese Immigrant

Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on  his experience
of coming to America and what it means. 
He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. 
All Americans should enjoy reading what he has to say...

Thirty five years  ago, if  you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here
speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I'd laugh at you.

Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family
in the greatest country on earth.  I just want you all to know that the
“American Dream” does exist...and I am living the American Dream!
I was asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation
Vietnamese-American, but I'd rather speak to you as an American.

If you hadn't noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable
with my people.

I am a proud US citizen and here is my proof.  It took me 8 years to get it,
waiting in endless lines, but I got it and I am very proud of it.

I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968...I was six
years old.  Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy
could remember anything.  I can't even imagine what it was like
for young American soldiers...10,000 miles away from home,
fighting on my behalf.

Thirty-five years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum.
The war had ended.  At the age of 13, I left with the understanding
that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again.
I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come
to the US.  Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months later,
amazingly, in California.  It was a miracle from God.

If  you haven't heard lately that this is the greatest country on earth,
I am telling you that right now.  It was the freedom and the opportunities
presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight.  I also
remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way.
My high school counselor told me that I cannot make it to college
due to my poor communication skills.  I proved him wrong.
I finished college.  You see, all you have to do is to give this little
boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it.
Well...I took the opportunity and here I am.

This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under
a socialist/communist  environment.  By the way, if you think
“socialism” is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in
to get  you a one-way ticket out of here.  And if you didn't know,
the only difference between “ socialism” and “communism” is an
AK-47 aimed at your head.  That was my experience.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants,
reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening
to the National Anthem for the first time as an American! 
To this day, I can't remember anything sweeter
 and more patriotic than that moment in my life.

Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like
any other goofball 21-year old kid, I was having a great time with my life.
I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern  California.  In some way
and somehow, I had forgotten how I  got here...and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the other
side of the island. I don't know what made me do it, but I walked over and
asked him if he had served in Vietnam.  He smiled and said, “Yes.” 
I shook and held his hand.  The grown man began to well up.  I walked
away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally
rocked.  This was a profound moment in my life.  I knew something
had to change my life.  It was time for me to learn how to be a good
citizen.  It was time for me to give back.

You see, America is not a place on the isn't a physical location.
It is an ideal...a concept.  And if  you are an American, you must
understand the concept; you must buy into this concept; and most have to fight  and defend this concept.
This is about Freedom and not free stuff.
And that is why I am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be  a real American, the very least you must do
is to learn English and understand it well.  In my humble opinion,
you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can't speak the language
of the country you live in.  Take this document of 46 pages...
last I looked on the Internet, there wasn't a Vietnamese translation
of the US Constitution.  It took me a long time to get to the point of
being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up
with the right words.  It's not easy, but if it's too easy...
it's not worth doing!

Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000
Americans who fought for this little boy.  I learned of the 58,000
names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnamese Memorial.
 You are my heroes!  You are my founders!

At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam Veterans to please stand.
I thank you for my life.  I thank you for all your sacrifices and I thank you
for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today.

I now ask all veterans, firefighters and police officers
to please stand. I thank you for your services and may
God bless you all!

Quang Nguyen
Creative Director/Founder
Caddis Advertising, LLC

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Notice that he referred to himself as an American,
NOT Vietnamese-American

How good it would be here in America if all of the immigrants, EVERYONE ~ felt like Quang Nguyen.

With gracious thanks to an American friend
(a World War II  Veteran)
who sent me this significant article.

A previous reader commented...
This should be required reading in our schools today.

“Pearl of Wisdom”
We must learn to live together like brothers
or we will perish together as fools.
(Martin Luther King)

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written June 17, 2012
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