The People We Wanted To Forget

After the last Americans left Saigon and 155,000 Vietnamese who left with them were resettled in the United States, Americans just wanted the Vietnam War put behind them. Many Vietnamese who stayed behind could not, and they continued their struggle of staying alive, now under new terms. 

On a Sunday morning in Thailand, Mike Harpold was on assignment at refugee camps in Southeast Asia to prepare a report for a congressional hearing on the boat people. Alerted by a doctor with Medecins Sans Frontieres, Harpold rushed to the aid of thirty-four Vietnamese men, women, and children whose disabled boat was about to be towed out to sea by the Thai Navy and cast adrift--certain death for all aboard. He had ten minutes to come up with a way to save them.

What Harpold did next forced a change in US policy, encuraged Americans to once again look into their soul, and demonstrated how one person with integrity and courage can make the difference in the lives of thousands. 

Michael G. Harpold
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