Friday, May 19, 2006

Road Trip -- Part 3

I rose fairly early this morning and had coffee with the guys. I said my good-byes, and it was back on the road.

I headed east, to Davenport, to meet with an old friend named Dau Truong. He is a close friend of our family, and has been helping us with the campaign in Davenport.

Dau is originally from Vietnam, and came with his family to Iowa in 1991. They are now United States citizens, and are part of a large community of Vietnamese immigrants in Davenport.

Dau has been helping his friends in Davenport get registered to vote, and I brought him a lot of campaign materials and information that he can share with them. We had a nice talk in his comfortable home about the campaign and politics, and we enjoyed some Vietnamese-style cafe au lait and egg rolls.

He then took me out for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho 99. We had some flavorful rice noodle and beef soup and also some interesting herbs and bean sprouts.

We talked about Iraq and the problems they are facing in that country. He said it is a lot like how things happened with his country.

Dau served in the South Vietnamese military, and met my dad in 1968. Dad was a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps at the time, and Dau was part of the Vietnamese forces that were supported by the Marines.

At that time, Dad had two very close Vietnamese friends: Dau, and a man named Dien.

Dien suffered serious injuries after an explosive device went off as he was investigating a tunnel during a patrol. Dien later died from those injuries despite the fact that Dad and others tried to save him.

And that is why I have this uncommon name.

After the war, Dau was imprisoned for many years. Fortunately, he was released and re-joined his family. He then contacted Mom and Dad by mail and a stroke of luck. Dad helped him get hooked up with an immigration program, and after a long process he was able to come to Iowa with his family and start a new life.

It was nice to see Dau and his family. I hadn't seen them since my wedding.

It was a long drive back to Albia from Davenport, but it was a beautiful spring day.

Aah, now I can sleep in my own bed.

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