An American soldier from inside the helicopter grabbed my tiny hand. On my back, I had my little girl, Xuân Nga. To make matters even more difficult, I was three months pregnant.
My body was swinging in the air outside the helicopter. My husband, with our son, Qu¿c Trang, on his back, was tied to my wrist and, with his other hand, clung to my ankle. As our helicopter began to lift off in the dark, those who could not get onboard grabbed the landing gear and clung to it, only to lose their grip as the helicopter rose high into the sky and headed out to sea.
My husband and I touched each other once we got inside the helicopter to make sure we still had both children on our backs. Looking out at the landscape below, we saw that the airport and much of Saigon was burning. A great sadness came over us. We were saying goodbye to all that we had ever known. Tears fell from my eyes as I thought about my brothers and sister left behind in that burning city. I tried to keep my eyes wide open so I could capture the memories of my last minutes in Vi¿t Nam, but I saw only the vivid red and orange of a burning airport and city as the helicopter took us higher into the sky.