Thursday, April 8, 2010
In 1975, over 50,000 Vietnamese refugees passed through the gates of Camp Pendleton after the fall of Saigon. Today, the Camp Pendleton Historical Society opened an exhibit to remember the "Tent City" constructed on base to house thousands of people after the war.
The "Tent City" provided temporary shelter for refugees as they attempted to rebuild their lives in a new country. Both the refugees who came to Pendleton, and the Marines who helped to build the "Tent City," shared memories of their experience today.
Retired Gunnery Sergeant Lewis Beatty expressed his admiration for the refugees, who showed courage and resilience in a difficult situation.
"They were people that were willing to do whatever it took to make a life here in the United States. I think the Vietnamese community has contributed so much to the American society," said Beatty.
According to the 2008 Census, San Diego is now home to roughly 40,000 people of Vietnamese descent. April 30th will mark the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The free exhibit will be on display until September 30th. For more information, the historical society can be reached at (760) 725-5758.