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Grasping a Daughter's Last Testament
A Vietnamese mother sees for the first time in 35 years the original copy of her child's war diary
Nguyen Ngoc Trung (ngoctrung)     Print Article 
Published 2005-10-09 09:26 (KST)   
The aging mother of a young woman doctor who died in the Vietnam War has had a long journey to reunification with her daughter's renowned diary, which is now a bestseller in Vietnam.

Doan Ngoc Tram held the diary close to her heart.
©2005 TuoiTre
The original volumes by Dang Thuy Tram have for years been kept at the Vietnam Center of Texas Tech University. Tram's mother, Doan Ngoc Tram, 82, was moved to tears when she and her three daughters, who accompanied her to the United States, saw firsthand the diary and a black and white photo featuring a smiling girl with a cone-shaped hat.

The Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Doan Ngoc Tram as telling reporters, "It is truly unbelievable. Thirty-five years have gone by. Many things do not exist any more, let alone the diary. I feel that my daughter is now in front of me. I can see her clearly. I want to hold her tight. She has returned after years of loss."

Tram then hugged Sarah Holmes, who has preserved the diary, and said, "This friend has been with my daughter for a long time."

Kim Tram, Dang Thuy Tram's younger sister, said, "When I received a CD-Rom from the U.S., I recognized my sister's handwriting right away. But at this moment, seeing the diary with my own eyes, I feel like my sister is returning. We hope that this is a good chance for all of us to understand each other more, to help the young generation know the price of war and to prevent conflicts."

Tram could not hold back her tears.
©2005 TuoiTre
The desire of Dang Thuy Tram's family is to keep the diary at the Vietnamese Center to best preserve it and allow people everywhere to come and see the historical tome.

American army officer Fred Whitehurst, now an attorney in North Carolina, was the one who found the diary in 1970 when reviewing Northern forces' documents recovered during combat for the military intelligence detachment he worked in.

He was about to burn the diary when a Vietnamese interpreter urged him not to and advised that there was "already fire" in the diary. The diary has since gone through a fateful journey until it finally reached the hands of a trembling mother.

"Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram" (Dang Thuy Tram's Diary) has been a best selling book for the last decade in Vietnam with hundreds of thousands of copies sold. A large number of Vietnamese youth consider her a role model of sacrifice and devotion and an example to follow.

Related Articles
Fallen Soldiers' Diaries Stir Up Vietnam
Translation to Teach Peace Through War
Vietcong Doctor's Diary of War, Sacrifice
Soothing Vietnam War Trauma with Photos

©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nguyen Ngoc Trung

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