Friday, July 23, 2010

Message from an immigrant

The left likes to protray conservatives as anti-immigration and against non-white folks. Here's a non-while immigrant who became an American and who will appeal to conservatives. ~Bob


This Saturday the 24th at 6:30 PM, the town of Prescott Valley, AZ will be hosting a Freedom Rally. I was asked to speak for 10 minutes on my experience of coming to America and what it means.

I wrote this in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans and I feel that it is important for me to share it with you prior to the Saturday event. Here it is and God Bless you my friend.


35 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 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. Guess what, I did legally and it ain't from the state of Hawaii.

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. Trust me, those images can never be erased. I can't even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf.

35 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 is the freedom and the opportunities presented it 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 aiming 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 someway and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here and why I am 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 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 life. I knew something had to change in 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 place on the map, it 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 importantly, you 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 know 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 Vietnam 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 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. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.

Quang Nguyen
Creative Director/Founder
Caddis Advertising, LLC


Dear Robert,

Thank you so much. Let see, I was five years old when you were there. I cannot thank you enough. You ARE one of my heroes.

Yes, please reprint away. I just want Viet Nam veterans to know that I and many Viet Namese do care.



  1. Dear Quang Nguyen:
    I'd have commented earlier but I didn't see this post until today.
    No doubt you were surprised by the Viet Vet's reaction to your thanks. You should know his feeling was not unique. The first time someone told me "Thank you for your service," it was such obvious bullock dung that I wanted to hit him (I couldn't because he was a customer, and he hadn't paid us yet) but I just turned away for a moment, turned back and said--but didn't mean--"You're welcome." That was about 1992.
    Over the years since, it has become customary for politicians and other such to "thank" veterans for serving. Some of them even seem to mean it.
    This last April, I needed a haircut and went into an unfamilar hair place while I waited for my wife to shop. The haircutter I drew by luck happened to look Vietnamese. She looked to be in her late 40s. I asked where she had grown up. "Saigon," she said. "Were you there?" she asked me. "Yes," I told her.
    She spoke of her journey to the USA in 1976, becoming a barber and a citizen with great pride. We talked of other things for a while, and as she finished my haircut, she leaned over and almost whispered in my ear: "Thank you for coming to my country. Thank you for fighting for me and my family."
    For perhaps 5 seconds, I was frozen in shock, then I wept. The poor woman was shocked and appalled by what she saw as her discourtesy to a customer. I gave her a massive tip and left.
    In the 42 years since I left Saigon, that was the only time a Viet who was there when I was had spoken to me. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to hear the real appreciation in her voice and see it in her manner. I felt justified and validated instead of merely ignored.
    I hope this explains why that veteran broke down. And on his behalf and my own, I say "Welcome, American. I wish I could have done more."

    Ron Pittenger

  2. I wish to thank Mr Nguyen for the patriotic expression during the speech on 24 July, 2010.
    It was uplifting to our nation and to we older individuals who had continually been told about the unjust war we had been waging in the place so far away in the years now long past.
    We were with the support forces in Nha Be and worked with RVN units in opposition to VC and other insurgents in the Mekong. Came home alone in 1969 and civilian America was most negative about the service/war and I have NEVER felt we were really honoring our country or freedom.
    I know this is an OLD story and actually, it was something never expressed until brought to light by Mr Nguyen and his kind words.
    It gives hope to an OLD, TIRED heart.
    With Graditude for God and Country,
    C. R. Donahue, USN(RET) Feb 2, 2010

  3. Quang Nguyen,
    This is an old thread, but in case you see it, I want to say:

    A friend just sent me a copy of your dedication to the Viet Nam Veterans July 24, 2010, and I had to respond.

    Polio at age 2 (1949) kept me from joining my friends and classmates who served valiently between 1965 and 1973. Barry Hilbrich rode the bus with me to High School almost every day. He is still MIA. Several others returned in boxes.

    For Barry and thousands like him, I want to say that you, and those like you, are the keepers of the American Spirit. You know, first hand, how fragile freedom is. Thank you for opening our eyes. Please keep telling your story.

    You said it best when you said America is not a place, but a concept. Today you are fighting for that concept; for that ideal, as surely as those in the jungles and rice paddies of Viet Nam. The fight has shifted to OUR beloved America.

    May God continue to Bless You and Your Family. And please; God Bless the U.S.A.