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April 30th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Remembering the Fall of Saigon...

Today, April 30th, marks the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon.  Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese have fled the country in the aftermath, settling throughout the world, including the U.S.

We're asking for your stories about the Fall of Saigon.  Were you there?  What are your memories of that day?

You can also visit the I-Report website to post your pictures and share your story there.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Butch Jordan

    I remember standing in morning formation at Fort Polk one morning. An older Staff Sergeant who was a respected and very bright member of our unit, had served with Captain Medina. He was upset over his trial. He was upset at what he considered the betrayal of a good man. I remember how profoundly this effected the troops standing next to me.

    The day Saigon fell, I remember seeing the faces of the Vietnamese people. The panic and fear they felt was terribly painful to the men of the military who knew we could win that war. I remember feeling very guilty at the prospect of leaving them to the North Vietnamese to do with as they pleased. That feeling mixed with the relief that our troops were out of harms way, were in direct conflict with each other. I felt ashamed but relieved.

    Today we are looking at a similar situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. I find it difficult to believe that our politicians could put us in this situation again. Did we learn nothing from Vietnam?

    April 30, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  2. Robert Williams

    The fall of Saigon? No it should read, the rise of the Vietnamese peoples independence. Thankfully America ended its horrific campaign of terror in that country. While I am not a communist but a Canadian socialist, it warms my heart to see the marines running away in that old footage. Of course, they shouldn't have been there in the first place. After April 30, 1975 the Vietnamese people were able to determine their own future, something Kyra, the American government/military has yet to do in Iraq. May it come quickly. The Iraqi people need liberation from the incredible Bush-Cheney screw-up. Hopefully this time the US will learn from its mistakes rather than in repeating the same ones over and over again.

    Robert Williams, Toronto, Canada.

    April 30, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  3. Donald Hodge

    29 April 1975, 35 years ago at 4am I was in the artillery barrage that killed the last two marines and closed ton sun nhut air base to fixed wing aicraft. After that only helicopters were used. The reason the communists started firing was they heard our C-130 as we were taxiing over to pick up refugees. We (seven air force personell) had flown in from Clark AB Phillipines with a 15000 pound bomb; which luckily we delivered to the South Vietnamese Army. The Communists got us! Hitting the right wing igniting the fuel tanks. If we still had the bomb on board we would have been vaporized, all seven of us; even if all of us got off the plane we couldn't run away from the plane fast enough to escape the blast of such a huge bomb. We ran to another C-130 and got on board and took off with 15 men and no refugees. When the communists saw they hit the first C-130 they stopped firing allowing us to run a quarter mile to the second aircraft. When they heard the second plane's engines roaring they started firing again. Bombs were exploding all around us as we went down the runway. We didn't take time to close the doors so we had a panoramic night view of all those bombs landing all over the place as we lifted off.
    I was on three earlier flights, C-141s, on the 25th, 26th and 27th. On the first one I sat on the cold aluminum floor next to Henery Kissinger's personal interpeter at the Paris Peace Talks. We were both afraid. Why? A woman seated in the nylon side seats 10 feet away was heavy with child and looked to about to go into labor. We were hoping she could make it to the Phillipines. Luckily she did.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  4. Chris

    Many Westerners naturally have a view point of the "Vietnam" war that centered around the US involvement. 4/30/1975 was a very sad day for the Vietnamese people. Yes, the war between the two Vietnams ended and now there was one Vietnam, but millions of lives were forever changed for the worse.

    After April 1975, the Vietnamese communist government determined the future for everyone in Vietnam, not the people. They told you where to live, when to go outside, how much money you can process, and what type of job you can have. I was there.

    Things are much better now in Vietnam but if Saigon didn't fall in 1975, South Vietnam would probably be a lot closer to Taiwan or South Korea in terms of economic status now. That's the lives of 40-50 million people (my estimate of South Vietnam population if it still exists now) we are talking about.

    Chris, Richmond, Virginia

    April 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  5. Eliana Le

    Everyone loves peace and independence, including the people of South Vietnam. My dad was in the army and our family, like other Vietnamese families didn't have peace and independence after the war ended. We were discriminated in our own country because we are the southern people. We couldn't speak up our opinions on the communist government even in our own home because of fears. I couldn't explain it better than my Dad's short sentence "If a tree or a street light knows how to walk, it would run away from Vietnam." My family fled away in a dark night on a small boat that was built for river, not for the giant sea. We stayed in Galang refugee camp for more than 6 years, hopelessly waited for a miracle. We had to come back to Vietnam in order to apply for the US ROVR program. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the true word of "Freedom" on April 1998 in the United States. That's my family road to Freedom, to human very basic right. My friend is not as fortunate as my family. She is still in Vietnam now and is still hoping one day, she would have Freedom. There are many boat people died in the fierce sea, I guess their souls are still looking for Freedom. So Mr. Robert Williams, I hope you would understand why we say "The Fall of Saigon". I respect your opinion, but before you speak for Vietnamese, please make sure you know their stories. Mine is one. Please pardon me for speaking from my heart and pardon me for any grammar errors as I continued my education at the age of 17. My thanks to all Americans and Vietnamese who fought for our freedom and to those who help us one way or another.

    April 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  6. Carol H

    I clearly remember Kim Phuc, a very young girl then, and that image of her running from dropping bombs (napalm??) and now she's an Ambassador to Saigon. I'm glad she survived

    April 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Kevin Nguyen

    On the day of the Liberation of Saigon, I was a teacher in Hanoi.. From the faithful day of March 9, when our forces brilliantly occupied the Highland town of Buon Me Thuot, I knew that the 30 year war of Independance would soon come to an end and Vietnam will be reunified. We never considered South Vietnam as another country but a part of our country temporarily torn away by French and American invaders, our brothers in the South will eventually lay down their arms to return to the blosom of their motherland. At 11:30 of that April 30 day, at work, we listened to the Saigon radiio where General Big Minh read his reddition speech. At the end of that speech, almost all the inhabitants of Hanoi flowed down to the streets carrying the national golden star in their hands. Many of them, including me, had tears in their eyes, tears of joy and pride. Now, in America, I will try my best to persuade my Vietnamese-American fellows to forget the past and serve the interests of our two countries, the US and Vietnam. Vietnam is now on the road of victory economically the same way it did militarily 35 years ago.

    April 30, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  8. maze1gerald

    One movie that said it all was full metal jacket.

    May 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  9. Wilbur

    Yes by all means. But is it to late?

    May 6, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  10. John Weghorst

    Life in Vietnam after the fall was terrible for many years. Luckily, the young people want reform and free enterprise so things have slowly changed. But, like Americans... most Vietnamese youth are embarrassed by the war, because that is the first thing foreigners ask them about.

    Back to the is always the case when communists win some war, they send the losers to reeducation camps (prisons). Look it up and get educated. The pictures of Apr 30, 1975 in Saigon of ARVN troops being marched off to "camps" is heartbreaking.

    Democracy is a story with no end –FDR.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:31 am |