Dear former fellow combatants in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam),
Dear young people,
Today, in this room, we are commemorating the heroes who sacrificed their lives for our country, and the 33rd anniversary of
the death of General Nguyen Khoa Nam. With deep emotions, I am feeling that their spirits are here with us now, as has said
the French poet Victor Hugo "Les morts sont des invisibles, mais non des absents." (The dead are invisible but they are not
absent). Nearer to us, across from Bellaire Boulevard, the statues of two soldiers, a Vietnamese and an American, as well as
those of civilians who have died during the war, are watching what we are doing today.
First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of the ceremony to have given me the opportunity to talk about the
contemporary history of Vietnam and the suicide of General Nguyen Khoa Nam, Commander of the 4th Army Corps.
To the young I will give a brief summary of the historical period from 1945 to 1975. And I would like to tell people of my
generation that what I am going to say about historical events is my own opinion and that not everyone might agree with me.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before 1945 Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - three countries that made up the Indochina peninsula - were French colonies. On
March 9, 1945, the Japanese overthrew the French administration. The State of Vietnam declared itself an independent nation,
though under Japanese control. In mid-1945 World War II ended, with the victory of the Allies (England, France, the Republic
of China - not communist China) and the defeat of Germany, Italy and Japan. Taking advantage of the surrender of the Japanese,
which resulted in a kind of "political vacancy" in Vietnam, the Viet Minh Front, which had secretly been working against
the French, seized power in August 1945. They formed a new government and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of
Vietnam (we later knew that this government was communist).