The Nation: The Agony of Arrival

Day after day, as artillery fire thundered a somber greeting from a nearby range, the buses disgorged their weary passengers. Vietnamese refugees were arriving at their first destination in America: Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Small-businessmen and Saigon bureaucrats, their faces etched with fatigue and suffering, their tight-lipped wives stifling tears, their children staring blankly in the bright sunlight, filed into the camp. There they were issued mattresses, bedclothes and kits containing toilet articles, sandals and one candy bar each. Inside the tents and Quonset huts hastily erected for the emergency, the...

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