RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
The Sandston community came together Memorial Day for a special parade honoring Vietnam Veterans. On the sidelines was a man who's now a husband, father and attorney with the Richmond Sheriff's Office, and he's using this Memorial Day to recognize all the troops who made it possible.
This is Tony Pham's story in his own words:
"My generation has become quickly, very fast the link and the bridge of what happened yesterday and what could be tomorrow. My family and I emigrated to this nation from Vietnam in 1975. We couldn't be here without the sacrifice of the thousands of military personnel that passed away in the Vietnam War. They paid the ultimate sacrifice so that a generation or two generations can live."
"This was our document to freedom, as I call it," Pham says holding a worn piece of paper that's been taped together. "You can see it's rag-tagged and torn up. It's a copy of the original. I carry this with me everywhere I go, in my wallet every day as a constant reminder of my journey to this country. In reality it keeps me humbled, it keeps me real and it reminds me of how much further I have to go and how much more work I have to put into the community to give back to repay that ultimate sacrifice in death that so many people paid for in fighting the war in Vietnam."
"It's a reminder that no matter how well I do in life that where I came from, you know," Pham trails off while getting teary-eyed.
"Sometime talking about your family, talking about people you remember, the struggles, you know it's difficult."
Looking around his children's playroom, Pham says, "None of this could ever be possible if it weren't for those who came before us who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is a debt I carry with me, immeasurable debt that I carry with me on a regular basis for the families who lost loved ones. They should know that their brave loved ones didn't die for nothing."
Pham became a U.S. citizen in May 1985. He says he will continue to give to this great nation and will remember all the troops who helped to shape what it is today.