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Photo credit: Sacremento News Register

Forty eight years ago, April 30, 1975 my friends Viet Dzung, his uncle Quang and (I believe) Dzung's grandma boarded a tiny, over crowded boat from Saigon, Vietnam, eventually arriving at an island in Subic Bay, Phillipines.  Dr. and Mrs. Bay (Dzung's parents, Quang's brother and sister-in-law), Dzung's brothers Cuong (Richard) and (I believe) Ahn were able to get out earlier.
Twenty two days on that little vessel, no food and a tiny drink of water each day.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, an estimated 200,000 Vietnamese "boat people" died at sea between 1975 and 1995.  The 200,000 is of an approximately 800,000 asylum seakers during that time.  These deaths were caused by a variety of factors, including drowning, starvation, dehydration, and attacks by pirates or other boats.
Every Vietnamese person I've ever met is eternally grateful to the countries around the world that welcomed them either as a stopping place or a place to make their home.
From the Philippines, my friends went to Missouri, then finally rejoined the family in Wood River, Nebraska in about 1976.  This is where I met them and we finished High School together. Dzung was seventeen, Quang twenty one I believe.

Dzung left, me right circa 1977. Photo credit: Quang Nguyen

Later, with a fire inside him for the well-being of his people and freedom for all people, he went on to become a tireless and internationally celebrated human rights activist, using his music, his humor and radio talent as a balm and a loud voice for all unwillingly expatriated people.
Here in the U.S., we love our "Independence Day"!  Do we think of it as a great reason to grill out, shoot off fireworks and have an adult beverage? Or do we love it like these folks?  Just a thought.
Love y'all.  Be good to yourselves and one another!

Lời Kinh Đêm (Việt Dzũng) - Midnight Prayer

Lời Kinh Đêm (Việt Dzũng) Sung here by Viet Dzung, played cerimoniously after his death.