April 30, 1975, signaled the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which had spanned nearly two decades (actually, it dated back to end of World War II). Years of fighting, years of lives lost both here and abroad.
The war certainly played a part in the evolution of Camilla Hall, the subject of a biography I’m writing. In the mid-1960s like so many, she was a peaceful anti-war protester. By 1974, she was a member of a radical terrorist organization. I think her frustration over the government’s involvement in Vietnam fueled her overall frustration with the government.
I watched the Dick Cavett special on PBS on Monday night. The frustration over the war as voiced by his guests in the early 1970s echoed the public’s sentiments. I found it enlightening to see those clips and to hear what people had to say in the moment, as someone who was not even a year old when Saigon fell.
On Tuesday, I watched the PBS American Experience program, “Last Days in Vietnam,” that dove into the details of Saigon’s fall. I had always known about the fall of Saigon conceptually, but had no idea what it actually entailed. I can’t stop thinking about this documentary. It perfectly captured the tension, uncertainty, and heartbreak of that day (and after).
If you have only a few minutes, you MUST watch this clip from the program. It’s titled “We Jumped Out.” I couldn’t believe it.
What do you remember from April 30, 1975?