Phó Tế Nguyễn Mạnh San thuyết trình về Ngày Lập Pháp
Phó Tế Nguyễn Hòa Phú (Atlanta) và Phó Tế Nguyễn Mạnh San (Oklahoma City) tham dự Đai Hội Phó Tế Việt Nam toàn quốc kỳ IV vào ngày 30-6-2011 tai Houston, Texas.
(Tại Tòa Án Liên Bang Hoa Kỳ vào ngày 25 tháng 4 năm 2009)
(LTS: Thầy Phó Tế Nguyễn Mạnh San vừa xuất bản Tuyển Tập Pháp Luật Hoa Kỳ Thực Dụng, gồm nhiều bài viết do tác giả kể lại những kinh nghiệm và cảm xúc trong nhiệm vụ của một chuyên gia luật pháp tại Tòa Án Liên Bang Oklahoma và cũng là một tuyên úy mục vụ trại giam. Việt Báo sẽ đăng những bài trong Tuyển Tập chưa từng phổ biến trên Việt Báo, để giúp độc giả có thêm kiến thức pháp luật cần thiết trong đời sống tại Hoa Kỳ. Trân trọng cảm ơn Thầy Phó Tế Nguyễn Mạnh San.)
The Speech by Deacon San Nguyen for the Law Day in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma On April 25, 2009
Dear Honorable Judges,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank Chief Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange for asking me to be the speaker for today's naturalization ceremony. It is a great honor for me to stand here and speak to all of you present today about my story. 34 years ago, I came to the United States as a refugee and gained employment here at the Federal Court. It's hard to believe I have been working as the Attorney Admissions and Naturalization Clerk of this Court for almost 30 years. There are only 5 more days remaining until the historic event that took place in my home country occurred some 34 years ago; the sad event which forced the majority of Vietnamese Community living in the U.S. today to flee our homeland for a better place and become the permanent residents and U.S. citizens right here in the United States.
On the last day of April 30, 1975, my former country of Vietnam fell into Communist power, I was rescued by a U.S. Helicopter of the United States 7th Fleet which was anchoring on the international area of the Pacific Ocean. During that time, I was a Vietnamese civilian working for the U.S. Army as an interpreter and translator. My wife and 2 minor children already left Vietnam for the United States one week before me. The U.S. 7th Fleet loaded thousands of Vietnamese people who escaped from inland. All of whom either escaped by small boats or by U.S. Helicopter. We were all brought to Guam. Many tents were set up there for us to temporarily reside before coming to the United States.
There were 3 different locations in the United States, so called Refugee Camps. The first one, Camp Pendleton was in California; the second one, Fort Chafee was in Arkansas; and the third one, Indiana Town Gap was in Pennsylvania. All Vietnamese refugees were assigned to temporarily reside at one of these camps for many months. You could not be released from the camp until you acquired an American Sponsor. My wife and our 2 children were already staying in Fort Chaffee Refugee Camp. By some miracle, I was brought to Fort Chaffee and was soon reunited with my beloved family. Fortunately, we only needed to stay there for 3 weeks because I was hired by the United States Catholic Conference Agency as the Coordinator for the Southeast Asia Refugees Settlement Program in Oklahoma City. Through this position, I processed legal administrative procedures for finding American sponsors in order to help over 6000 refugee families from the 3 Refugee Camps in the United States plus 3 Refugee Camps in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. For almost 5 years, I helped numerous Vietnamese refugee families from all of these camps find sponsors to help settle them in Oklahoma City and its nearby small towns.
My dear new citizens, 29 years ago, just like all of you here today, I was naturalized in this Court and have always been very proud to be an American Citizen. I enjoy the freedoms which are afforded to me, the democracy in which we operate, and the liberty to choose my own religion. But I have always understood that in order for me to have these invaluable things in my life, which were not afforded to me in my former country, I must protect them by complying with the laws of this country and fulfilling my civic duty. Furthermore, I would like to remind you all that today is an important law day and I want to share with you 2 stories which relate to the law. As American citizens, we must all be careful and realize that some of our former country traditions are very different from the American culture. Although this country is comprised of a mixture of different cultural backgrounds which essentially make up the American culture, some of our traditions may not be suitable and sometime are just inappropriate to practice in this country. We must adjust ourselves and assimilate to this new culture and use good judgment when considering our own customs. Failure to do so may well lead to certain laws be violated. For example: in my former country, if I didn't like a cat or dog or any type of domestic animal, I had the right to beat them until death and I would not suffer an consequence or persecution. However, several weeks ago, in Houston, Texas, a Vietnamese gentleman chased a cat belonging to a neighbor and beat it until it died because it came to his house and bothered him. He was arrested and placed in jail, went to trail and was sentenced to prison. Here is another example: a few years ago, I visited a Vietnamese person in the county jail in my capacity as a Chaplain for my Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. This person slapped his wife's cheek and he was put in jail and charged with domestic violence. However, he insisted that he did not beat his wife. He only slapped his wife because he thought in his mind that beating was different from slapping. He was in jail for 3 weeks with 6 month probation.
Well, in the Vietnamese community, we have a saying that goes like this: In the United States there are 4 priorities, the first one is child, the second one is woman, the third one is a domestic animal and the last one is man. Truly this statement is only a joke, but everyone should realize that, in the United States, we are not only afforded certain freedoms as citizens but we have equal rights which require us to respect each other. If by some reason we do violate the law and commit a crime, we are also afforded protection by the law through due process of law in the Court. So, in order to avoid such problems like I mentioned before, every American citizen must obey and comply with the laws of this country and use sound judgment when practicing your very own customs and traditions.
Finally, thank you all for your patience and attention today. You should all stand tall and be proud to be an American citizen of this great country. May God bless the United States of America and all of you.