Dennis Hall, and Father Founded, first time cross their roads in june 2013. Dennis like other Vietnam veterans before, send us an request for help, in locating hes Vietnamese-Cambodian spouse in their common child.
Dennis story wasn't that different from the rest of those servicemen. Young man, joined the military and ended up in Vietnam. There he met the war and felt in love with an local beuty and the love turned in to an relationship and final, she were pregnent, hes duty ended and he was send back to "The world" .
Hes life moved on, the war ended and the uniformed were changed to civilian dress. An new family, job and all what included an " Normal "life.
But life wasn't the same as before Vietnam. He fathered an child, whom he didn't knew the gender,place or time of birth, eather had he ever seen an photo of hes child. Dennis knew that it was an secret he had to carried for the rest of hes life. Postwar USA wasn't an place to flash your Vietnam service, and having an child with an Vietnamese women hardly an subject for dinner time.
So Dennis took an step in to an journey back in time, back to Saigon and Vietnam, to face to hes own ghost from past.
Dennis had hes own memories and photos from the past, including him and hes Vietnamese-Cambodian spouse, all saved in hope it would lead him to hes lost family.
So what informations did Dennis have from hes lockers.
Name: Dennis Hall
Day of birth: 1952
Branch of duty: Army
Occupation: Aircraft Mechanic
Time of duty: 1972-73
Place of duty: Tan Son Nhut Ab
Note: She was an Vietnamese-Cambodian origin. She used to live on Hem 281 Trung Minh Ky Street,Saigon.
We looked on the info, hmm name hardly good one, since it was merely an soundlike and we didn't knew where she original was from. So we basic had an old adress in Saigon, from 1972.
Hung, got the informations and drove out there to search for any clues about Dennis love ones. He later informed that he locate the street, even it had change name after 1975. But hardly anyone from that time lived there now,and he came back empty handed.
The whole story could have ended like that, empty handed ! Dennis past stored in an locker and on our homepage.
Saigon, february 2014
Dennis had arrived from "The World", with an tired smile and boiled face,from the heat. He had an long journey from mainland USA to Vietnam and was beaten by jetlag and time different. We just stared at each other, we knewe made it so far.
So how come we met in Saigon in february. It started in december 2013, Father Founded got an mail from the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), they wish to do an tv program about amerasians and Vietnam veterans and hope we could be the ones to help, and after some talk back and forth, we took off for Vietnam and an event of our life. BBC contacted Dennis and after some dealing and whealing he agree to be part of the tv program.
One couldn't hardly image how it would be, return to ground zero after more than 40 years. Dennis was ready, even though he didn't have an glue what the aim was.
Hung and me had already been out on Dennis old area, driving up and down, the streets. First it seems like an mission impossible. Not an single person seems to live there, it was closed doors and windows, and the few coffee shops remains, were own by people that came after 1975.Hung and me turned desperate,we knew, we had to delever an smoking gun for BBC, and so far we had nothing to offer.So we started to look close at all houses, the old photos from Dennis, and forgot about numbers.
We saw an house looked like Dennis ones, but still not the same, so we knocked doors and ask anyone if someone from before 1975, still lives there. An bunch of middleage construction workers, we eating their lunch and chatting loud inside an small house restaurant. Hung "Hallo" them and we gave them, the old photos an info. They all went furius and wewent in to the small alley that was Dennis old place. Arms pointing in all directions and everyone taking.
End was that Dennis old house had been split in 2, so 2 families used it now, rather than 1 owner before. Follow up on those info, Hung knocked the door on the neigborn, after an while an old, fragile women shows up, her face pale an tired, hair white and thin and hervoice slowly whispering. Hung showed her the pics and she moved her hear up and down and asked us to come in, which we did after a lots of thanks.
More chit chat,more looking at photos and she says " yes that women she had an Amerasian son with an American man, like him on the photo.And she gave the chid away and moved to Canada, later the son came back from the orphanages looking for the mother and she also came back from Canada looking for him, but they boths miss each other. It was the smoking gun we were looking for.
BBC had in mind, that they and Dennis headed out to hes old street, and tailed Dennis to hes final destination, him and Thyanas place. Guided by Hung, with Dennis and Sue Roberts in the middle and Ian O'Reilly as back man, filming the whole event. Walking down the memory lane, Dennis wild eyed, body filled with adrenaline from rush, of been back.
Enter the cross road, heading around the corner right and see it !!! YES hes and Thyanas place !!! Hung already had an appointement with the old women, so it was just for Dennis to reenter past.
When the old women told Dennis about what happend after he left Vietnamin 1973,he was in shock, putting hes hands in hes face and crying, the emotions, knowing he left an child in Vietnam, unable to bring him home.
Hes life was changed forever, present didn't exist anymore, past came back as an jack in an box, hounted hes heart and mind.
We didn't have much time to talk and enjoy Vietnam, BBC had the timetables and we had to following it, so it was filming from early morning to late evening, but for me the final day came ,and I had to leave for home, and Dennis had some little more time left.
BBC dropped me off, close to the old Amerasian park, behind the French Cathedral. I decided to walk an little and enjoy my peace. 2 min of walking and I bumped in to Dennis, he had time off, and decided it was time to be tourist too, so we made our own little group.
I took Dennis to the old presidental palace and we ended on the Pastour Street, in the front of the old ODP (Orderly Departure Program Offic),I explained Dennis, thats the place the amerasians used to ask for permission to leave for USA. Dennis just starring, and asking me the universal question" Do you think my son went here too ?". It was merely an wish,rather than an question.
Time was up and I left home, and shortly after, Dennis went home too. Boths back home, we continued what we started in Vietnam. Dennis, with help of Hung, did adds in several newspapers in Vietnam and Cambodia, and it also spread tonewsmedia in Canada too. But so far it had all be in vain, since their hadn'tbeen any smoking gun yet.
Father Founded and Dennis started up as an client relationsship to an good friendship and today Dennis are an high value friend of us and the amerasians, and he had sone a lot for amerasians. So whats the chance for Dennis to find hes amerasian son ? Time will show.