‘We were them:’ Vietnamese Americans help Afghan refugees


Thuy Do, second from right, poses for a photo with her husband, Jesse Robbins, right, and their son, Fredrick, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. Do was nine years old when her family arrived in the United States from Vietnam in the 1980s, and that memory led Do and Robbins to reach out to assist Afghans fleeing their country. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — The crisis in Afghanistan has reopened painful wounds for many of the 2 million Vietnamese Americans living in the United States.

It’s driven some elders to open up about their own harrowing departure to younger generations for the first time. It has also spurred many Vietnamese Americans to donate money to refugee resettlement groups to assist newly arriving Afghans and offer to help.

Television images of Afghans vying to get out of Kabul on U.S. military flights evoked memories for many Vietnamese Americans of their own attempts to escape a falling Saigon more than four decades ago.

Seeing themselves in the Afghans left behind, many say the U.S. military departure isn’t the end of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan but the beginning.

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