Hello Oklahoma   Hello Oklahoma


 If, after having visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial Center, one does not appreciate the betrayal of a man who terrorized his own America; perhaps one will never comprehend the ultimate sacrifice in which American Vietnam veterans fought and died for Freedom and Liberty of this great land, the U.S.A.  

(The Boy in the Poem)
April 30, 2000


I desire no Heaven

I yearn for no Hell

I just want to not betray You Lord

For you give me air to breathe

Water to drink

Fire to warm my heart...

Linh Duy Vo

(The Boy in the Poem)

May 3, 2002  

Message dated 5/4/02 8:22:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time, .....@......com writes:

> Subj: Re: www.gratitude.org/hello_oklahoma.htm
> Date: 5/4/02 8:22:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time
> From: .....@......com
> To: Poet Linh D Vo

> Linh, dear friend

> Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us re America. Your "Hello Oklahoma" email is so profound. And we were so very lucky the day you became an American with us.

> Tom Hennessy

May 6, 2002

Dear Uncle Tom Hennessy,

There are many Sundays in my life, but the Sunday you wrote in the front page of Long Beach's century-old newspaper, the Press-Telegram: "Linh Vo: Walking, talking Vietnam memorial" --Sunday, Long Beach, California -- February 28, 1999, Tom Hennessy, Staff Columnist, was a different one. It became immortal within my mortal being.

On the weekend of the 27th reunion of the Saigon Mission Association, April 26, 27, the last Americans to leave South Vietnam got together to reminisce about the events in a chapter of America's history, I left your article on a table amongst the mementos brought there by SMA members. Those are safekept mementos of a lifetime of the soldiers who served America in a battlefield against Communism, called Vietnam.

There came a local couple. He is Shady. He was in Vietnam, he married a Vietnamese woman. They both came home to America safely. They sat there, she was reading your article. She wondered...

The Banquet Night came, by fate, they sat at my table. 
After my presentation of the General Homer Smith Prize to Sally Vinyard, and she read the poem Dear Daddy from "Offerings at the Wall", the couple realized that I was the boy in your article, many many Sundays ago.

The wife gave me her business card. It read, T. V. (Nguyen) A., Ed.D., Director, Bilingual Education.
The conversation went with the touching evening. The video showed the last days of the Vietnam War, all were moved to tears.

The morning after, Van and Shady came to my hotel, they took me to breakfast, visiting great places in town. Both took me in as their brother, and I am thankful. I am asked to return to share with the students there what echoed from your heart that Sunday: A walking, talking Vietnam memorial.

For me, Van is my big sister I never had, but now I have found. On a Sunday in Oklahoma City.

With love,

Linh Duy Vo
(The Boy in the Poem)

A note to myself:

A new day, May 15, 2002. 
    When tomorrow comes, 15 May 2002 will be gone. Forever.
    I am now at the moment where I am living. Alas, every living creature is living at this moment. But, voila! I am not only living, I am also alive--a great feeling that generates the human energy within me.
    I decided to send, once more, my gratitude to the stranger who sent me a most warm-hearted e-mail last Christmas. Eerily, 3 months after the September 11 tragedy.
    I wish to share this emotion with my adoptive sister, who inspired me to write the latest piece on my web page, Hello Oklahoma.
Linh Duy Vo, poet

Subj: Gratitude, Honor, Love
Date: 12/11/01 3:53:28 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: AlanLesdelice
To: poet@gratitude.org

Vo: I happened across your touching website and thought to write to you. I am 58 years old. I was in my 20s when war tore your homeland. I am most touched by your words. 

I have grown up in America, where though we are not the most perfect land, we have many freedoms that we kind of forget at times. Your writings are a wake-up call to me. For it reminds me of the sacrifice of others that bought this land its freedoms and also the blood spilt to preserve those freedoms. As an American, I am thankful that we come to the aid of other lands...guess you would call me a hawk, though I detest war as much as the next person. But my homeland never knew war in my lifetime. I am to give a talk at my Church this coming Sunday...the topic is Gratitude. I will use some of your thoughts in my talk. What makes America great, Vo, is not money, nor might, but the many peoples from many other lands that fuse together in this melting pot we call America. We have our differences, we have our ethnic cohesion which at times make us seem a distant part rather than a close part of the American fabric, but what we have: freedom, honor, commitment, ...these are what draws us all together. And of course the ability to go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober.....it is a right here, for you and me as for all other Americans. 

Thanks, Vo, for your wake up words regarding your fellow Americans. That pilot who befriended you......I feel in my inner most core that you WILL SEE HIM AGAIN. All we experience here is not meant to end...the good that is. At this upcoming Christmas time I say unto you that we are all meant to return to that Heavenly Home from whence we came at our birth here. Our Heavenly Parents await us there and when your phase of existence ends here, perhaps your "Papa-san" will meet you to walk with you back to both your Heaven Father.

Alan Tompkins 


My Diary



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