Easter 1975 in Vietnam

The approach of Easter reminds me of the celebration in Saigon in 1975. I attended mass with my family—I was the folk group director. The occasion was anything but happy. Here’s my description from Last of the Annamese:

Chuck climbed out of the blue-and-white [taxi] by the wrought iron gate to Cité Paul-Marie just before 1000 hours. The crowd floating into the compound for Mass was mostly Americans. They were quieter than usual, less gracious, more fidgety. He blended with them and sat in a pew toward the middle of the church. He spotted Ike several rows in front of him. Molly was at the side of the altar, in a full-length spring yellow frock, dominating the group by sheer girth. The guitars thumped and the group sang, “I am the resurrection and the life—he who believes in me shall never die,” to a lively bossa nova beat. Molly’s voice, not always on pitch, was louder than the rest. Monsignor Sullivan, preceded by eight altar boys, promenaded up the aisle. The Mass had begun.

End of quote. So striking to me throughout the service was the contrast between the joyous tone of the liturgy, celebrating the resurrection, and the somber mood of the congregation. We all knew that the North Vietnamese were getting closer and soon would attack us.

More next time.

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