The little girl was only three years old, but she already knew how to wake up in the early dawn and come out to the banister contemplating the splendid sunrise over the waving surface of the immense river. Engraved in her heart forever was the magnificent image of the Nine-Dragon River under the dazzling orange light of the sun, which gradually brightened the azure blue sky of the so lovely country.
The little girl was born and grew up during wartime, so she had to accompany her parents to move many times around the country, and even out of Vietnam for many years to seek refuge in Cambodia when her family's religion was harshly oppressed by government policies under the First Republic in South Vietnam. Finally she had to flee her country without any hope of return, when the communists took over the free land of South Vietnam. After so many years and so many changes, patriotic love is still enduring, passionate, and intense in the heart of a little Vietnamese girl -- who years ago used to spend every morning to admire the river and the sun, at the banister of a tiny house in the small Hoa Hao Village.
She remembers vividly the scene of small fishermen’s boats coming back after a night of fishing and netting shrimps. On the way toward the Duong Tac market in the early hours there were many merchants’ boats, covered with melons, gourds, pumpkins, cabbages, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables, cruising and rushing on the river. Those sunburned faces were calm and happy when they waved kindly to the little girl; they all seemed so healthy, genuine, and friendly - a common feature of all peasants in this area. I wonder if they realized that they were living the most pleasant and peaceful moments in their lovely homeland?
The house of the little girl's parents was built right on the river bank. This was the reason the river would always be dear to her. Her parents also shared the same feelings, the same affection for the river. Her mother usually stood with her in the morning to watch the impressive panorama; it was how they began the day together. Her Father often came to the banister to play mandolin or flute, or to recite poems. He liked to play his favorite fast song, “A Sojourn in the Adventurous Life,” and his feet accompanied the song by tapping noisily on the wood floor.