This Monday marks the 40th anniversary of the day that nearly 100 orphans were airlifted out of Vietnam following the end of the Vietnam War. First of all, I just can’t believe I’m old enough to celebrate 40 years of anything, and secondly, since the 35th anniversary so much has happened.
I’ve met up with a great many Vietnamese adoptees, both from the UK airlift, and airlifts arranged globally and it’s clear that we all share a common ground and common feelings. Meeting the Adoptees in Vietnam for the 35th was a magical experience, spiritually, emotionally and personally.
I was also involved in many radio interviews, a local interview on BBC South East, featured on BBC1’s Inside Out and even an interview on BBC News 24, which all covered the story of the Babylift 35 years on. Inside Out followed my journey to Vietnam as I tried to find some more information surrounding my orphanage and parentage.
I have met up with Brian Freemantle, the then Foreign Editor of the Daily Mail who played an instrumental part in the Airlift UK bound. This was a very important meeting for me as it added another angle and further depth to the story, since all the adoptees were babies and young children, so it was important to receive an adult’s version of the story from right inside where the action occurred.
I’ve also met with David Tolfree who volunteered with Project Vietnam Orphans (PVO) in Vietnam.
I fully intended to go to Vietnam again this year for the 40th anniversary, however with my son being so young, thought it was not the best timing, and perhaps rather overwhelming for him. I’ll take him one day in the next few years, when it won’t be so daunting for him with so much action, can handle the heat better and hopefully make the 45th anniversary in 2020. I think it’s important for the second generation to find out about their roots.
It was hoped that BBC’s The One Show would cover the story, however, disappointingly, they have decided to run with a story about Dark Horse.
Alternatively, BBC World Service will be picking up the story with a radio interview on Wednesday with some other adoptees sharing their stories also, hopefully with some adoptees in Vietnam right now.
I keep getting asked about the spelling of my name and I’d like to confirm that my name is spelled Viktoria, not Victoria, the conventional spelling. I’ve always been different and I love being different!