This I Believe

Kevin - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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A Land of Equal Opportunity

I believe in America. Some may ask, “The country?” I answer,”No,” the idea. The idea of freedom and equal opportunity. The idea that convinces people to come to America.

My father’s side of our family once lived in Southern Vietnam near the capitol city, then called Saigon. My family was prosperous, living on a large estate. However, they lived in fear. Communism was spreading rapidly and people were losing there homes. Those that fought were killed and those that did not resist lost almost everything. During the war between the United States and Northern Vietnam rockets would often bombard the city of Saigon, keeping its many citizens in fear. After the war had been going on for some time my family made the decision to come to America. They knew that in America they would be safe from the spread of communism.

Leaving their home with only what they could carry they were evacuated to a refugee camp. They were some of the lucky that were able to leave Vietnam before the communists took over in the mid 70’s. The home in which my father, aunt, and uncles were raised in was then taken over by the North Vietnamese government and turned into a police headquarters.

After leaving the refugee camp my family was flown to the United States. They lived in temporary homes both in Colorado and then in Arkansas before my grandfather found work in Illinois. In Illinois my family first lived in Mt. Prospect then later moved to Naperville. All the while working hard, staying together, and making a future for themselves from scratch in their new adopted country.

When my father first came to this country he could hardly speak English. He first went to community college to learn English, then moved on to The University of Illinois, Ohio State, a teaching job at Duke, and Now a job as both a researcher and teacher at Loyola.

America stands out from all other countries because it allows anybody with any background, even poor Vietnamese refugees the ability to be successful. My grandparents recently went back to Vietnam after these many years of being away from their original home, but the happiest part of their trip was coming back to their adopted home, America.