On the night before they left, as the family sat around him, Toan stood before them. “We are about to embark on this escape attempt, you must understand we might not make it. None of us can swim, none of us know what’s on the other side. So that odds are greatly stacked against us…one in a hundred change of making it. But we are going to do this as a family and if we make it you all have to make something of your lives. You have to make this effort worthwhile.”
Ring of Freedom is a memoir taken from the journal of Dr. Vuong. It chronicles four unsuccessful escape attempts and the fifth and final escape attempt from Communist Vietnam, after the fall of South Vietnam. The details of Dr. Vuong’s 1980 escape from Vietnam come from the journal he kept as events were unfolding and from interviews with the Vuong family. Dr. Vuong, or Toan as he is referred to throughout, was a well-respected doctor living with his family in South Vietnam, one of those blessed individuals who loved helping people, treating the sick and making them better. Before the fall of South Vietnam, he and his family had a wonderful life in a little town near Saigon, mostly untouched by the war. He had married Nha-Y, the daughter of a judge for the South Vietnamese Army. At the time they began their multiple escape attempts, they had five children, the oldest of whom was nine years old, while the youngest had just turned two.