Mother Reads Daughter's Vietnam Diaries... 35 Years Later - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/5/05

Mother Reads Daughter's Vietnam Diaries... 35 Years Later

A personal diary can be powerful reading and Wednesday at Texas Tech, the Tram family was moved to tears. A U.S. soldier saved Doctor Dang Thuy Tram's diaries after she was killed in the Vietnam War and, after all these years, her family read them for the first time Wednesday. Thuy's Sister Kim describes her sister saying, "My sister was a very gentle girl and liked music and painting."

Thuy was a Vietnamese physician in her late twenties when she left for her country's war-torn jungles in winter of 1966. Her sister Phuong recalls it was a very cold winter in the war.  "My family was very worried about my sister."

Thuy wrote of her haunting experiences in two diaries. In may of 1968 she wrote "Death still happens everyday, every minute, every second as easily as turning over your hand." And in August she wrote "The pages of this small notebook continue to fill with blood."  In 1970 Thuy's own blood would spill.  Phuong says, "The day my sister died, my mother had a bad dream. She saw my sister with a tear and her hair flying in the wind."

The U.S. soldier that found Thuy's diaries spent 30 years trying to find her family.  He finally gave the diaries to Texas Tech's Vietnam Center. Tech found the Tram family.  They flew to the U.S. and Thuy's mother held her daughter's words to her chest for the first time in Lubbock, Texas.  Kim says, "I can tell you my mother never cried and this is the first time she's cried. I've never seen her cry."

Beneath the tears is a thread of happiness to feel close to a loved one again... and to feel that an old enemy is now a friend.  Kim says, "I feel something very holy."

Thuy's family will now travel to North Carolina to meet with Fred Whitehurst, the soldier that saved her diaries all these years. They have officially adopted him as a son into their family.

Thuy's journal entries will be translated soon and placed on the Vietnam Center's Website: ( vietnam.ttu.edu).

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