As stated in Vol. 1 of The Oklahomans, Oklahoma has always been the land of the second, third, and sometimes last chance. So it was for the tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled the triumphant, mass murdering Communist North Vietnamese Army in the 1970s. They suffered kidnapping into that army, imprisonment, torture, separation from loved ones, and rape, robbery, terror, and murder on the high seas as “Boat People.”
iHeartRadio star Gwin Faulconer-Lippert and John tell the story of some of Oklahoma’s most courageous people, freedom loving Vietnam War refugees willing to risk everything so that their children would have a chance for life in a land of freedom, opportunity, and faith. It’s the eighteenth episode of our weekly OKLAHOMA GOLD! radio program and podcast. Go HERE to listen to them all! Future episodes explore more great heroes, events, and movements of Oklahoma History.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that one-third of all the boat people—a total of 250,000 of all ages of men, women, and children—died at sea by murder, storms, illness, thirst, and starvation. Thousands of them, however, blessedly found their way to far-away America. Many came to Oklahoma.
South Vietnamese refugees have risen from heartbreak, poverty, and horror to help build a strong, 21st-Century Oklahoma. They have restored and reinvigorated entire neighborhoods and sections of towns and cities in the state.
The American and South Vietnamese flags.