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A TRIBUTE TO OUR COMMANDANT

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A short time ago, some former Cadets in Florida visited the Commandant of South Vietnam's Political Warfare Academy (CPA). The Academy was established in 1965 to select young men with a full high school degree or higher education to train for 2 years to become Political Warfare Officers. These officers had advanced education, and were highly competent in social, political and military activities. Indeed, Political Warfare Academy graduates were trained combat officers and commanders able to adapt to the needs of ideological war, the war between communist dictatorship and freedom and democracy, until South VN was occupied by North VN communists on April 30th 1975 because of the unilateral pulling out of Vietnam of the US and Allies. The Academy graduated 4 classes (class 1,2,3,4), class 5 and 6 were still in training.  Colonel Nguyen Quoc Quynh had been appointed CPA from the middle of training of Class 2 to the last class, Class 6. In the first months of 1975, while the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) under pressure of strong attack of Communist,  DaLat City was not safe for Cadets to stay, he was a brave Commander with excellent tactics responsible for safely bringing his Cadets and Staff back to Saigon. We call him our teacher, our godfather or our commander. Whichever name he was called, he deserved it.

He was weak at the age of 92 but was so happy to welcome former Cadets of the Political Warfare Academy (FCPA). His daughter asked if he wanted to have a short rest after a long talk with his students, he replied he still could stay with FCPA for a longer time because he was so excited to see them again! His mind remained sharp, but his physical strength was failing so the FCPA respectfully let him rest and ended the visit. That was the last chance for some FCPA to meet again their respectable and beloved Commander.

A few months after that happy reunion, we received the bad news that he was in ICU, and then he was gone! The news struck all FCPA like thunder. Life is just "SINH, LAO, BENH, TU" (BIRTH, AGING, SICKNESS, DEATH), which sequentially everyone of us must undergo! Our beloved CPA was no exception. He passed away on June 13th 2014, to the sorrow and regrets of his relatives and his extended family, the FCPA! His family lost a loving husband, father, grandfather, and the FCPA lost a talented and virtuous leader. To remember and honor him, representatives of FCPA and many other ARVN members came to Florida for a Military Rite to lay the National Flag of the Republic of South Vietnam on the coffin per his wish. The yellow flag with three red stripes symbolized his love for Mother Vietnam: it was under that flag that he had been fighting all his life to protect freedom and democracy for South Vietnam.

The President of the FCPA Assembly and representatives of each Class, expressed their sorrow at the loss of our CPA and offered our sincere condolences to his family. After the Burial Holy Mass at a Catholic Church for the Soul of Joseph, he was laid to rest at a cemetery in Orlando, Florida on 6-21-2014. The FCPA bid farewell to him with tears.

A month later, as the majority of FCPA are living in the Capital of Vietnamese Refugees in Southern California, they expressed their love and respect for Colonel Nguyen Quoc Quynh at a Holy Mass co-celebrated by 2 priests, father Đình Ngọc Quế and father Cao Đức Thuận, one was Chief Chaplain of Saigon Gia Dinh, and the other Chief Chaplain of South Vietnam Army (ARVN). Interestingly, both were in the same communist jail for 13 years with our CPA. We attended HOLY MASS on 7-12th-2014 at the Vietnamese Catholic Center in Orange County (VCCO) to pray for The Passed Away, the Soul of Joseph Nguyen Quoc Quynh, our former CPA as an expression of our eternal gratitude for his teaching during our training to learn and practice "TRÍ NHÂN DŨNG THÀNH" or MIND, HUMANITY, BRAVERY, SINCERITY", the key to become useful men, especially to fulfill the duty of a citizen to serve the country in wartime.

FCPA in cadet uniforms and others with black suits on the mourning day for the Commander, had been at VCCO in the early morning to prepare to welcome many guests including the people who had lived in Dalat, city of the Academy, CPAs comrades and people who admire his character. The Holy Mass started as scheduled, the Center was filled up with FCPA family and guests. Everyone concentrated in praying during the Holy Mass; many attendees are not Catholic but they prayed in their religion for The Passed Away. The Holy Mass is very important for Catholics, it reminds the meaning of the sufferance and death of Jesus to save humans. The dead people could not bring with them any money and fame, but our CPA had a good life, loved God, loved people and especially, he fulfilled his duties to the Nation, in addition to that, our prayers in this Holy Mass for The Passed Away, those are benefits will be accepted to God for Soul Joseph soon be entered in Heaven.

"SINH KÝ TỬ QUY" means life is temporary, only after he dies, man really goes home, the home of the Lord. Our CPA is now resting forever in God's peace. We still keep his words as a will that all FCPA unite and love each other, and keep fighting for freedom and democracy for Vietnam. The image of our talented and virtuous Commander will never fade in our minds and hearts.

May God bless you all and peace be with you.

 

Little Saigon, Westminster, July 13th, 2014

 

Dao V Luan K2