Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam
Bayshore Courier News
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Holmdel – On April 3, 1975, United States President Gerald R. Ford announced that “Operation Babylift” would fly some of the estimated 70,000 Vietnamese babies and children who were left orphaned by the Vietnam War to safety in America. Thirty flights, combining private and military planes, transported at least 2,000 children to the United States and another 1,300 children to Canada, Europe and Australia. These children, born in a war-torn land, grew up as members of international, adoptive families.
On Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will host a screening, followed by a group discussion, of the 2009 Award-Winning Film, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Operation Babylift. Many of the adoptees, organizers, family and friends involved in Operation Babylift will be in attendance to celebrate the 35th anniversary.
There will also be an honor guard procession recognizing those who did not survive the humanitarian mission known as Operation Babylift. This program will be held at the Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel, NJ.
Guest speakers will include event organizer and author Lana Mae Noone and her daughter Jennifer Nguyen Noone, MSW, who she adopted through Babylift. Dr. Robert Ballard, a professor at Waterloo University (Ontario, Canada) and a Babylift Adoptee, and his wife Sarah who specializes in international adoption will also speak. The director of Project Reunite Trista Goldberg, also a Babylift Adoptee, will discuss her Babylift story. The nationally acclaimed author of The Life We Were Given, Dana Sachs will be present to address the audience. Retired U.S. Army Medic Ron Speight, a Vietnam Era veteran, will provide a dialogue about Operation New Life, a humanitarian program for Vietnam adults. There will be a Vietnamese and American musical performance by Lana Mae Noone prior to the film screening. The cast and crew of Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam including Producer/Director Tammy Nguyen Lee and Associate Producer Jared Rehberg will be present for a question and answer period. The documentary, which was partly filmed in New Jersey, tells the contemporary story of the adoptees as adults. Several of the day’s speakers are featured in the film. Book signings and a reception with the opportunity to view Operation Babylift artifacts will follow the film screening. The event schedule is available for view on njvvmf.org. The program is dedicated to all those who did not survive Operation Babylift.
Attendees are asked to RSVP to (732) 335-0033. Regular admission applies. Regular admission is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel. Regular adult admission is $4.00; student and senior citizen admission is $2.00; and children under 10 are admitted free. The Vietnam Era Educational Center is located adjacent to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial off the Garden State Parkway at exit 116. The Educational Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm.