How many people in your office or classroom do you really know? I mean beyond the normal work or classroom interaction? I am lucky in that I get to work with a lot of creative, intelligent, and caring People, but to be honest, with most of them, I don’t know their personal disasters or triumphs. I am sure they all have both some low moments and their sweet tastes of success, just as I do. But, sometimes our personal stories remain locked inside of us.
Like anyone my age, the Vietnam War was a seminal event for a generation, and our national scars and wounds are just now beginning to heal. I remember those images of desperate refugees climbing up to the helicopter pad at the US Embassy in Saigon. Equally haunting were the images of the “baby lift.” At the time, I couldn’t imagine what those left behind must be thinking.
Life has funny ways of intersecting when and where you least expect it. When I moved into the Communications Department, I began working with Kim Delevett on several projects for the blog. Some of those posts involve Kim’s story of returning to Viet Nam (along with a newspaper article by Kim's husband, Peter) as an adult to search for her family. During the telling of those stories, I learned more of Kim’s life story and of the incredible love of her birth mother as Saigon was crumbling. In spite of reading those stories, much remained unsaid until now.
Early this year, Kim was asked to be part of a Vietnamese American oral history project for the Digital Clubhouse Network, and she worked with a college student to rpoduce the video; Kim’s story is now available on a YouTube video. The good folks at the Digital Clubhouse Network provided the technical assistance for the video. Warning, don’t watch this without keeping a box of tissues close at hand. I think the factor that makes the video so moving is that you hear Kim's voice telling her story.
Kim’s search for her past and her own history continues. In the video, you will learn about Jim Smith, and thanks to the video, Kim is getting closer to being reunited with Jim.
At a recent event, Kim met Sachi Koto, formerly of CNN. She was so intrigued by Kim’s story, that she launched a search for Jim Smith in her online newsletter. Remaining hopeful that the newsletter and this post will bear fruit, Kim tells me: “Southwest will not only play a part in spreading the word, but when I do find Jim, I bet Southwest will fly us there!” I have a big hunch that Kim will be successful.