Vietnam Revisited (What Happened To Arn Chorn)

Arn was rescued by an American Soldier and taken to a refuge camp in Thailand. 2 years later an American named Peter Pond picked up Arn and 2 other Cambodian boys and went to the United States. Arn was adopted by Peter Pond and his wife to live in a big house in New Hampshire. Arn would have terrible nightmares almost every night wondering where his family was or even if they were alive. He slept on his bedroom floor because he could not get used to a bed. It was hard for him to believe that he did not have to hunt for food. At night he would sneak downstairs to the refrigertor and steal food to bring back to his room. He would put bananas under his pillow so he could eat in the safety of the night, He would then put the peels on the floor. When his mother came up in the morning she got angry. Arn didn't know to throw anything away. He viewed school as being terrible. He had never been to school before. He failed every class. He spit at a teacher and was sent to the Principles office. Instead of being expelled he was allowed to stay because he was so good at playing Soccer. Arn could not stop thinking about his family and others who were suffering in Cambodia. Then one day his adopted father told him if he really wanted to help other Cambodians come to this country, you have to speak out. In later years Arn found out that no member of his family had survived the Khmer Rouge. He continued to learn English and to speak out for Cambodian Refuges. In 1984, Arn and his friend, Judith Thompson co-founded Children of War, a group that brought people from War-torn countries together and gave them a chance to tell their stories to large audiences throughout the United States, He currently lives in Massachusetts where he works with an organization that helps Cambodian immigrants adjust to life in the United States.

Robert Stilwell

Retired Mfg Supervisor

Member of the Parma Heights Historical Society

Volunteer for Cypress Hospice

Member of the Parma Area Senior Veterans Group

Also involved in many other Veteran Organizations

Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.01.2024