The Day I Left Vietnam annon KienCuong Nguyen I still remember that day; it was July 4, 1994. My family including my parents, my three younger sisters, and I were going to leave Vietnam to come to the United States. We had permission from the United States government to come over to the United States because my father used to work for the United States Army during the Vietnam war. I woke up about eight o’clock in the morning. After breakfast, I dressed up and walked around to say good-bye to my neighborhood.
Some of my neighbors wished me a good life and a better education, some told me keep in touch with them. Then I went back to my house. It was full of relatives and friends. They came to visit us for the last time and some of them would go with us to the airport. My girlfriend was inside; she was waiting for me. I met her one year ago and we fell in love after six months.
When she knew I would leave, she cried a lot. I took her to the balcony where we had our privacy. We sat down and then she silently cried on my shoulders. I knew she loved me very much and did not want to let me go. She looked at me with tears and asked, ‘Will you come back?’ I do not remember how many times she asked me this question.
And I always replied with the answer, ‘Yes, I will.’ I told her, ‘After I finish school in America, I will come back.’ Then we went out to have lunch at a restaurant near my house. When we came back, everybody was ready to leave because my Dad wanted to get there early in case we had to do some paperwork. Most of people took a bus with my parents and my sisters; some had to leave because they had to take care of their businesses. The airport was near my house so I decided to take a bicycle ride with my girlfriend. We got to the airport about 2:30 p.m.
There were so many people, some of them were our family some were friends and relatives of other families who had the same flight with my family. I started to say good-bye to my uncle, my aunt, my cousins, and my friends. I had four close friends who had been with me from elementary to college. We took some pictures and hugged each other the last time. It was time to get into the plane. My Dad called me.
‘Hurry, son.’ I quickly gave my girlfriend the last kiss, then ran into the checking room without turning back. Then I realized my eyes were full of tears. I did not want to let anybody see me crying so I quickly cleaned my face. The plane took off fifteen minutes later. From the plane I looked down to see the land the last time. All the memories came to my mind and once again my eye was full of tears.
When I stepped down to the Atlanta airport, I realized that I really left my heart.