Ha Chan, my grandfather, was drafted into the Vietnam war in 1971 to fight against North Vietnamese communists and Viet Cong.
A generation before Chan, The Chan family lived in China. However, when China became influenced by Russia and became Communist, the Chan family moved to Vietnam to avoid communism. Chan grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, a city in South Vietnam with his family. In Vietnam, his name was Trần Thế Hà.
In 1955, a civil war in Vietnam emerged. This involved Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, who supported communism and wanted to reunited North and South Vietnam. They fought against South Vietnam, who supported a western style government in Vietnam. This war is known as the Vietnam War.
Although it is believed that the…show more content… “I did not want to leave my wife to raise the children on her own.” His Chinese family didn’t care too much about the unification of Vietnam, so they were unsupportive of his draft as well.
He considered fleeing to Laos or Cambodia to avoid his draft, similar to how U.S. drafts would flee to Canada. “I thought that if I fled safely to Cambodia, I could find a secure home. The family could follow me when I found a place for us to stay”. However, if he was caught avoiding his draft, Chan would be punished and be forced back into the draft. His wife, although unsupportive of the war, persuaded Chan to stay in Vietnam and fight. She believed that either way, he would have to be drafted. Not knowing what the punishment would be, Chan’s wife did not want Chan to be in any trouble.
Chan reluctantly agreed. He unwillingly left to fight in the Vietnam War in 1971. In his time in the South VIetnamese army, Chan witnessed deaths of friends who he hasn’t known for very long. Chan remembers the death of a close comrade, Chinh Dao. “He was only a young 25 year old man, who was building a family before his draft.” This struck Chan as it was his first time seeing the death of a friend at war. He was told by the medics that he and several other troops were ambushed by Viet Cong. “I could imagine the feelings of his wife. I would never want my family to experience that.” Chan