The Orphans


Girl at Cam Rahn Bay orphanage. Photo courtesy of Manolo Gonzales.

We were castoffs and slaves, orphans and unwanteds and used-to-be princesses…and we were mighty.

~Lesley Livingston, The Valiant



One of the many unfortunate by-products of war are orphans. The orphanages near our base at Phu Cat, Vietnam were visited by the base chaplains who brought sustenance in the way of food, clothing, and other goods, as well as spiritual support. GI volunteers often accompanied them, bringing their own small supply of treats for the children. I went along on several of these visits.


The experience was both enlightening and saddening. On one occasion I brought a tin of hard Christmas candies my mother had sent. The clamoring children literally ripped the buttons off of my shirt as I tried handing them out.


The saddest part of these visits was watching the children vie for the attention of the American GI’s; hoping against hope that they might be adopted and delivered from the hell that was their lives. The ones with missing limbs and other war scars, stood humbly back as the “less damaged” children jockeyed for position. Those memories are forever etched in my mind.




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About the Author

Joe Campolo Jr.

Joe Campolo, Jr. is an award winning author, poet and public speaker. A Vietnam War Veteran, Joe writes and speaks about the war and many other topics. See the "Author Page" of this website for more information on Joe. Guest writers on Joe's blogs will have a short bio with each article. Select blogs by category and enjoy the many other articles available here. Joe's popular books are available thru Amazon, this website, and many other on-line book stores.

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