On Memorial Day

The below has nothing to do with investing or the Keys. Please indulge me, anyway.

The story came from a Newsweek piece last year. I’d sent it to a buddy in Iraq then, and I’m about to send it to another friend still over there. Thought it was important this weekend in particular.

It’s about a Vietnamese immigrant named Anh Duong, who fled that country in 1975 as a fifteen year old, nearly drowning in the South China Sea in the process. She got picked up by the U.S. Navy and was sent to a refugee camp in Pennsylvania with the rest of her family, which eventually was taken in by a church outside Washington, D.C.

Anh went on to the University of Maryland, got three degrees and led the team that developed the thermobaric bomb in record time for our troops to use to drop into caves in Afghanistan. Gruesome business, war. And Anh’s job was not easy. But she did it so our troops could avoid the bloodbath of searching caves the old fashioned way.

For her efforts, Anh was to be recognized with a big civilian service medal at a black-tie dinner. Upon receiving the award, she walked up to the mike and without reading any notes, says this:

“Thirty two years ago I came to this land as a refugee of war with a pair of empty hands and a bag full of broken dreams. This land is a paradise not because of its beauty or richness but because of its people, the compassionate, generous Americans who took my family and me in, and healed our souls, who restored my faith in humanity, and who inspire me to public service.

There’s a special group of people that I’m especially indebted to and I would like to dedicate this medal to them. They are the 58,000 Americans whose names are on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and the 260,000 South Vietnamese soldiers who died in that war in order for people like me to earn a second chance at freedom.

May God bless all of those who are willing to die for freedom – especially those who are willing to die for the freedom of others. Thank you.”

To Memorial Day.

Cale Smith

About Cale Smith

Portfolio Manager at Islamorada Investment Management.
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