McLean, VA -- On Sunday, March 6, 2005 a group of citizens, primarily from the local Vietnamese-American community, gathered to honor sixty-four soldiers and their family members. The service members are recovering from wounds or injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The evening started with a standing ovation when the service members arrived at the Fortune Restaurant in Falls Church and continued with traditional Vietnamese entertainment, a Vietnamese meal, and expressions of appreciation to the soldiers and their families.
The wife of a young soldier who lost his leg in Iraq perhaps best reflected the sentiments of those honored when she told an attendee that they would never know how much this type of support means to those who face months of rehabilitation. She said she has been overwhelmed by kind words and encouragement for both her and her husband.
According to Ca Van Tran, one of the principal organizers, the dinner and evening away from the medical center was a way to show support for the soldiers and their families and recognize the sacrifices they have made in the defense of freedom.
Ca, like many of those who attended the dinner, is no stranger to the horrors of war. He worked with U.S. forces during the Vietnam War and came to the United States when the South Vietnamese government fell in 1975. He has since founded a humanitarian organization, Viet-Nam Assistance for the Handicapped, which provides prosthetics and wheelchairs to landmine victims and amputees in Viet-Nam. Now, as an American citizen, he continues to hold a special place in his heart for those who fight for freedom.
Sponsors of the dinner included individuals, members of Ca’s organization, and the American Legion.