In President Barack Obama's inaugural address on Tuesday, in reaffirming the greatness of this country he noted that sacrifices are earned and not given:
"... Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh...."
Ralf Waldo Emerson described the first shot by the militia in the Battle of Concord as "The shot heard around the world". Battle of Gettysburg is considered to be the turning point of the Civil War. And of course the Battle of Normandy is forever symbolized the triumph of good over evil.
Then why Khe Sanh? A 40 years old battle in a remote outpost of the only war that the US has ever lost. President Obama naming these historical battles to clearly emphasize the long history of the men and women who have fought and died to defend democracy and freedom. And in Vietnam too, even though it was a lost war, the US did not send their troops and fought in vain. It was democracy and freedom against the tyranny of communism that Khe Sanh made it stand.
For a president who was only a baby when the Vietnam War started, he could still feel the burden of history of a long ago war still not forgotten. The Vietnamese who left their homeland as political refugees to settle in this great nation of immigrants have been remarkable in building their lives while enriching the surrouding communities. Their ultimate success is the many Little Saigon Business Districts in San Francisco, Santa Ana , Houston, Washington DC, Seattle, etc... (except in San Jose since it was never official recognized by a city council out of false pride). And of course, it is only fitting in a year that an African-American became the first black president that a Vietnamese-American elected to US Congress to represent a landmark district (New Orleans) where 65% are Blacks.
Happy Tet and blessed all those who exercised their democratic rights to bring justice and voices to all communities here and abroad.
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