Monday, April 14, 2008

A Finer Focus: April 30, 1975: The Last Chopper out of Town...

Vietnam. Vietnam. Vietnam. What comes to mind when you read...Vietnam? The pearl of Southeast of Asia? The tiered rice patties of the lush Mekong Delta? The limestone isles of Halong Bay? While not any of these features cling (I'm sure they don't for many of us), we invariably think of War. That War. The War.

Thirty-three years ago, April was indeed the cruelest of months for Vietnam and an American expedition that was coming to a crashing end. North Vietnamese Army units were cutting through an overmatched and demoralized Army of the Vietnamese Republic (more popularly known as the ARVN), and bearing down on the capital city of Saigon. Panic, terror, a sense of betrayal, heartbreak, fear. All were felt. Plain clothed Marines - playing God - pulled desperate dependents, government officials, American nationals over the high fences of the Embassy. Explosions could be heard near Tan Son Nhat Airport and the enemy had long breached the city's gates. Chaos.

Check out this embed of a BBC report on Saigon's "Eleventh Hour."

For a list of books on this tragic epilogue, click on the following link: Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) -- History OR Vietnam War 1961 1975 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City.

The Central Library also holds numerous magazines from that era, along with articles covering the evacuation of Saigon:

Jenkins, L. (May 5, 1975). City at the Edge of Doom. Newsweek, vol. 85.

U.S. News. (May 12, 1975). Communist Takeover: Russian-Made Tanks, Barefoot Guerillas Roll into Saigon. U.S. News, vol. 79.

Benjamin, M., et al. (May 5, 1975). Last Exit from Saigon. Newsweek, vol. 85.

Time. (May 12, 1975). Memories of a Fallen City. Time, vol. 105.

Time. (May 12, 1975). Saigon Under Siege. Time, vol. 105.

Time. (May 12, 1975). Saigon: A Dreamlike, Twilight Mood. Time, vol. 105.

Chrysler, K.M. (April 28, 1975). Saigon's Fate: Quick Kill. Slow Death--Or a Deal. U.S. News, vol. 78.

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