About the War
The play takes place during and after the Vietnam War. Its characters become refugees in the US after the fall of Saigon. Here's some backstory:
After defeating French colonial rule in 1954, Vietnam was left divided - communist in the North and anticommunist in the South. By 1960, the Viet Cong was created - a group of Southern revolutionaries backed by the Vietnamese Communist Party. Opposing their communism, Americans fought the North Vietnamese army in 1965, while North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops launched surprise attacks throughout South Vietnam in 1968.
The Vietnam War met with numerous protests in the US. In January 1973, the US and North Vietnam reached a cease-fire agreement, and US prisoners-of-war began to return home. The last of the US combat troops in South Vietnam left by March 1973. Operation Frequent Wind was initiated in March 1975 to evacuate South Vietnamese and Americans to the US. On April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces, marking the end of the Vietnam War.
Fall of Saigon
Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. On April 29, 1975, the Northern Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong overtook the city.
As American forces departed, thousands of Vietnamese were flown to safety, but over 400 Vietnamese were left behind at the American embassy, waiting for a chopper that never came.
The Fall of Saigon was the end of the Vietnam War. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in honor of the first Communist leader of North Vietnam.
Operation Frequent Wind was the evacuation of Americans and their Vietnamese allies from Saigon. By the Fall of Saigon, over 50,000 US and Vietnamese citizens had already been flown out of the city.
In Vietgone, Tong and her mother Huong are able to leave in this wave because of Tong's job at the US Embassy.
Quang and Nhan evacuate in a South Vietnamese helicopter filled with refugees.
When they land on the USS Midway, the US forces accept the people that had flown with Quang. But his helicopter is pushed overboard to make room for more aircraft to land.
What kinds of sacrifices must be made in order to live in a new country?