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April 17, 2007

Refugee Resettlement II

Today the U.S. is reeling from news of 32 students killed by a gunman in Virginia. Stories like these are powerful in part because the victims are so much like us -- civilians simply living out their lives who get caught in inexplicable violence. It is not so different from the stories of civilians living in war zones.

Today, the U.S. is still debating what to do about the thousands of displaced Iraqis who put their lives in danger to help Americans.

In 1975, the U.S. resettled 130,000 Vietnamese refugees to the United States. Yesterday, Dick Gordon talked with Julia Taft, who headed that program.

Today, Dick talks to two of the people Julia helped resettle: Ninh Le and her daughter, Thao Do. The Le family and Julia Taft have since become close friends.

I remember March 26, we live in Da Nang, and my husband come home and a couple of hours before we leave my city and he say "go go go."
- Ninh Le

Ninh Le was living in Da Nang, and her husband worked for the American Embassy. Ninh made the journey by plane to Saigon, and then to Guam, and finally to camp Pendleton -- along with her 8 children, all under the age of 13. Ninh's husband, Binh, had to stay behind to attend to business. The Le family was finally reunited at Camp Pendleton in California.

Resettlement was not only about the plane rides and refugee camps, it was also about learning how to live in a new culture. Thao Do talks about those challenges, including the time her sister mistakenly wore pajamas to school.

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