NPR

A Former Refugee Reflects On The Vietnam War And Starting Over In The U.S.

Lan Cao was sent to the U.S. as a teenager from Vietnam in 1975. At StoryCorps, she tells her daughter about watching the Tet Offensive play out in her city and about adjusting to life in America.
Lan Cao, 53, with her daughter, Harlan, 12, at their StoryCorps interview in Westminster, Calif. in January 2015. During the interview, Lan tells her daughter about her experience during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. Source: Gautam Srikishan

Lan Cao was just 7 years old when military forces launched an attack in her city outside of Saigon, Vietnam, in 1968. But she still remembers the chaos: the sound of automatic gunfire, the fighting near her house, how the sky lit up at night from explosions.

The North Vietnamese army and the Viet. It was one of the biggest military campaigns of the Vietnam War and it began 50 years ago this week.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Wayfair Employees Protest Sale Of Furniture To Migrant Detention Center
"This is the first time I felt like I needed to hit the streets to make sure I was proud of my company, to make sure I was happy to work for them," employee Madeline Howard said at the walkout.
NPR3 min read
Champagne, Caviar And No Shame At All: Remembering Judith Krantz
The novelist, who died last week at 91, was often slammed by critics as a frivolous sex-and-shopping writer. But her luxuries were meticulously researched and her sex scenes gloriously shameless.
NPR2 min read
Alt.Latino Playlist: Cuban Rap, Soulful Shoegaze And A Transformation From The Ravine
Orishas returns with a piano ballad for existentialist insomniacs, Chicago's Divino Niño offers a dream-pop ballad and Mateo Kingman teams up with Gustavo Santaolalla.