Hear “First Days” Stories From Vietnamese Refugees

This article has been edited for length and clarity by Xfinity.
Check out these inspiring stories at the First Days Story Project about the experiences of Vietnamese refugees and veterans just after the end of the Vietnam War. April 30, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the war.
The project is inspired by Rory Kennedy’s Academy Award-nominated film, “Last Days in Vietnam”, which premieres on April 28, 2015, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. CAAM is a community engagement partner of the project.

One of the Stories: Andrew Ly and the “Lucky Ones”

Photo: CAAM

In the aftermath of the 1975 fall of Saigon, Andrew Ly and his family tried three times to flee Vietnam. Finally, in 1978, having given up nearly all of their possessions, Andrew and his family escaped in a small boat carrying more than 140 refugees. Andrew sat down with his friend Thang Do, also a refugee, to talk about the perilous journey and how his family created one of the most successful bakeries in America. Ly went on to become the founder of Sugar Bowl Bakery, one of the most successful bakeries in San Francisco.

About First Days Story Project

The First Days Story Project, a national initiative to collect, preserve, and celebrate the stories of Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnam veterans is a collaboration between StoryCorps and the PBS television series American Experience. It is the cornerstone of the outreach and engagement initiative for the Academy Award®-nominated documentary “Last Days in Vietnam“, directed by Rory Kennedy. The StoryCorps team traveled to six cities across the country — Boston; Falls Church, Virginia; Houston; San Jose; Seattle; and Westminster, California — to record conversations among members of the Vietnamese American and Vietnam veteran communities. These conversations are published on the multimedia website and will be archived in the Library of Congress in order to preserve this important part of our national history for generations to come.


This article is a crosspost from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media.

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