Lana Noone's Centennial Tribute to President Gerald R. Ford for "Operation Babylift"
As we near the 100th Anniversary of President Gerald R. Ford's birth (July 12, 2013), I would like to thank him for his courage and compassion in enacting the Vietnam "Operation Babylift", April 3-26, 1975.
His awareness of the issues adoptees face gave him a unique perspective regarding the orphans who were "in harm's way" at that time.
The entire Babylift community is forever indebted to President Ford for his humanitarian effort and we pay tribute to him today.
Please visit the website for updates regarding these programs.
Vietnam Babylift war orphans to reunite this summer:
On the 38th Anniversary of "Operation Babylift", I'm both heartened and saddened by recent events.
I'm delighted to see the connections being made via this website and Charlie Wilber's kind technical expertise. Babylift folks from all corners of the world have become a community for healing from the past and hope for the future. Events are being planned, books, art, music and films created, college and graduate school papers written - all with tremendous interest in Babylift's "unsung heroes". Babylift was one of the most important 20th century events . . . an effort that helped children who were in harm's way to gain a future that has unfolded for nearly four decades.
However, several Babylift heroes have passed on and others are aging and ill. I'm now a senior citizen/baby-boomer and the time will come when others must plan events and carry on. That's okay as long as the story of Babylift continues to be told.
It was an extraordinary humanitarian effort and, in my opinion, qualifies as a "hinge of history". . . a moment when humankind raised itself up towards a new paradigm of peace and reconciliation.
Thank you to all involved and let us continue to remember those who sacrificed all for the children. We're also grateful to the families of participants and adoptees alike for their roles in the effort. We remember you and are honored by all you did at a difficult time 38 years ago in a country halfway around the world.
Grace and Peace,
A Vietnam "Operation Babylift" and President Gerald R. Ford Centennial Tribute Event will take place at Camp Pendleton, California on July 12-14, 2013.
The Event will include a Babylift reenactment, aircraft fly-over, speakers, music, art and artifacts exhibit, reception, picnic, vendors and much more.
Please visit the official website at www.torch1975.org/events and scroll down to "Babylift Event" for complete details.
January 26, 2012
Lana Noone was honored to be Grand Marshal of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall 30th Anniversary Program and Vietnam. "Operation Babylift" (OBL) Dedication Ceremony, at the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, Fort Myers, Florida, January 26, 2012.
OBL Participants, who joined Lana in reading the OBL casualties names, included Vicki Curtiss Fernandez, Ed Gosselin, Ann Vermeire and Phil Wise.
The OBL group was honored to ride in the Memorial Wall Escort Motorcade and to meet with President Gerald R. Ford's brother, Richard Ford, who was recognized by Lana Noone during the program.
Many thanks to www.avtt.org for sponsoring this outstanding event!
FEATURE FILM COLLECTIVE
"IT’S 110 DEGREES IN SAIGON AND GETTING HOTTER" ©
A COLLECTIVE PROJECT: WRITTEN BY
Nearing completion - a unique cinematic first, a written and recorded account by those who lived and survived the evacuation of a single orphanage central to the April, 1975 fall of Saigon. The Collective’s project, "It’s 110 Degrees in Saigon and Getting Hotter"© is designed to be a major feature film.
As the Viet Cong bear down on Saigon, Midwestern housewives fly in; a Nun ignores late-night shells piercing her walls/"marries" man after man desperate to emigrate; for months, a grandmother runs the Defense Attache’ Office (DAO) filled with terrified South Vietnamese – sending 20,000 adults and orphans out, in one day alone - an American Medic’s birthday party is followed by indescribable horror inside a C-5 Galaxy over Tan Son Nhut. Back in the States – a poet and his, classical musician-wife await the arrival of their infant first child - from out of this tapestry of fear and chaos.
These are just a few of some 150 pages of accounts from the actual and real players in this incredible story. Their written and recorded reminiscences comprise the first such collective telling into one chronological epic. They are the heroes and heroines central to one of the great dramas of the last half of the Twentieth Century.
The collaboration will be submitted through traditional feature film channels and to others
with a record of participating in alternative financing. These first-hand witnesses must receive billing as authors of the account.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Reflections on "Operation Babylift" (OBL) from the Woodstock Museum...
This summer, I had the opportunity to reflect on OBL while speaking at the Woodstock Museum's Vietnam War 35th Anniversary Lecture Series.
Touring the excellent Museum, I was moved by the photos of many young people attending the Woodstock Festival over 40 years ago, and their exuberance at just being there.
It caused me to reflect on OBL's impact on my generation here in the US (the "Baby Boomers") and how the Vietnam Era impacted many lives throughout the world.
In searching for the "Big Picture", one thing became very clear to me, and that is the "heart of the matter" (in the words of the Don Henley song).
So, to those who went to Woodstock ("500 thousand strong") and those who didn't (some, because they were serving in Vietnam); to those who returned home as "unsung heroes" with visible or invisible scars; to those who have spent the past 35 years wondering where their birth child might be, and in memory of those who never came home, I welcome you.
OBL's 35th Anniversary Year will soon come to a close and, like all significant, historical events, it is now part of Museum exhibits, textbooks and films.
But, the people who were impacted by OBL still have questions and, thus, to you all-adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, Military and Civilian participants, relatives and friends of OBL's casualties, you are joyfully welcomed here for who you are.
We rejoice to find each and everyone and welcome all visitors who are searching for details about OBL as well.
With tremendous gratitude to Charlie Wilber, the true "unsung hero" of this site and so much more, I Welcome You!
Peace and Blessings,
Posted in recognition of OBL's unsung heroes and in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives so others could live.
We cherish and remember your courage, compassion and kindness to the children who were in harm's way.
Thank you on behalf of all the families who waited to become parents 35 years ago, as history unfolded around us.
We will never forget you for showing us that faith, hope and love are always an option, even in the midst of great danger and turmoil.
Peace and Blessings,
On the cusp of the "Operation Babylift" (OBL) 35th Anniversary, I've been giving much thought to a recent book that analyzes OBL from the perspective of the ensuing years. The book's author has "20/20 hindsight" clarity regarding several OBL-related issues and yet, decades removed from those chaotic days in April, 1975 Vietnam, I believe the sincere and accurate need for immediate action at the time is missing from the assessment. I cannot provide answers myself, but I do feel it necessary to reiterate my personal appreciation to all who were involved in OBL. It wasn't a "perfect" Mission and I grieve for all birth families who have been searching for their children since 1975.
This website will always be honored to post your search inquiries, as well as the search inquiries from all Vietnam veterans and others sincerely searching for family members/children they cared for during the OBL diaspora. However, I firmly believe the children were in harm's way and that the OBL humanitarian evacuation was the correct thing to do at the time.
I agree that the children should not be "lost" forever and I applaud the efforts of several Vietnamese adoptees (VADs) who are working to facilitate birth parent-adoptee Reunions. A quote by the Vietnamese Poet Thich Nhat Han comes to mind. He states that if you look deeply into the palm of your hand you can "see" your parents and all the generations that came before you. You are the embodiment and the continuation of all their hopes, dreams and aspirations, he states. I'd like to add that this is true for birth and adoptive families alike and, although it might be seen as a challenge, I see it as an enrichment for all.
One week before OBL's 35th Anniversary, I commend all involved and I hope, in remembrance of those who didn't survive OBL, that we may support one another in our individual and collective life journeys.
I'm deeply grateful to Charlie Wilber for his creation and continued support of this website so that all the "threads" of OBL may have a voice.
I re-dedicate my efforts to be of assistance to all who search, and I do so in Loving Memory of my husband Byron Michael Noone and my daughter Heather Constance Noone (Mai Ngoc Tran), and in Loving Honor of my children Jennifer Nguyen Noone (Nguyen Thi Dai Trang) and Jason Paik Noone (Baik Yung-Nam) and my grandchildren Heather Marie Song-Yee Noone and Jayden Alexander Chul-Soo Noone.
Peace and Blessings,
The web site's editor has recently reconnected with retired Colonel Robert Kane, who will receive the Heather Constance Noone Memorial Award for his efforts during "Operation Babylift".
Colonel Kane was Commanding Officer at The Presidio, San Francisco, California in April, 1975 when he authorized the Presidio to become the entry point into the United States for the orphans who were due to arrive in the US via the April 2, 1975 World Airways flight. He did so after receiving a telephone call from Ed Daly's daughter, Charlotte, while the World Airways flight was en route to Oakland, CA.
After President Ford implemented Operation Babylift on April 3, 1975, 1,500 Babylift adoptees were processed at The Presidio.
Colonel Kane, his staff, and many volunteers implemented SPOVO-Support of Vietnamese Orphans during this time, thus allowing the adoptees to be accepted at this entry location.
In the opinion of this editor, without Colonel Kane's humanitarian decision, Babylift might never have become a reality.
The Vietnam Babylift web site is grateful to have the opportunity to recognize unsung Babylift hero retired Colonel Robert Kane.
Photos of the Vietnam "Operation Babylift" Ceremony, held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 22, 2007 may be viewed on the Museum's website at:
Additional photos will soon be available on the Vietnam Babylift web site at www.Vietnambabylift.org.
The Tribute Ceremony was an outstanding Event with tributes to President Ford presented by:
Lana Noone, Event Coordinator, "Operation Babylift" Archivist...Heather Constance Noone Memorial Award co-presenter;
Bernie Duff, Artist, Vietnam veteran...unveiled his extraordinary "Welcome Home" painting of President Ford greeting the first Babylift arrivals;
Linda Adams, C5A survivor, civilian;
Tia Keevil, Babylift adoptee, co-presenter Heather Constance Noone Memorial Award;
Ross Meador, FCVN Babylift Field Director;
Philip Wise, C5A survivor, military.
The Heather Constance Noone Memorial Award, presented posthumously to President Ford for his implementation of "Operation Babylift", was created and designed by Vietnam veteran Charlie Wilber.
The Babylift Collection is now part of the Ford Museum's permanent exhibit.
Please contact Lana Noone at Lana@Vietnambabylift.org for complete details.
The Vietnam Babylift was a unique
event . . . a moment in time when many threads of the Vietnam era joined together
in a humanitarian effort. It was one of the extraordinary events of the 20th century.
Future generations might well consider it to have been the moment when the "global
family" became a reality in communities throughout the United States.
Vietnam Babylift 35th Anniversary Year Tribute
As we enter the final months of the Vietnam Babylift 35th anniversary year, I would like to recognize all who were involved in Babylift 35 years ago.
The list is too lengthy for me to mention each one individually, so...my tribute will be a general one. Please be assured that I, and my family, thank each of you very much.
Thirty years ago, my husband, Byron Michael Noone wrote that when our daughter, Heather Constance Noone, was placed in his arms at the airport, "Heather's and my eyes met. I tried to communicate with words and gestures."
Shortly before she died, just weeks later, Byron wrote, "Our eyes no longer met. She had her eyes set toward Jerusalem".
Those weeks were the beginning of my family's Babylift story.
My daughter, Jennifer Nguyen Noone, a Vietnam Babylift adoptee, wrote that, "the Vietnam Babylift was a moment of great spiritual significance...the beginning of the healing process between the United States and Vietnam".
My son, Jason Paik Noone, a Korean adoptee, wrote about Korean adoptions, in words that are appropriate for all international adoptions. He wrote that he "cherishes all those who set aside their own dreams and allowed others to have their dreams come true...eternally grateful to them".
I am eternally grateful to all of you.
Last April, I assisted with the Babylift 30th Anniversary Program at the New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center, in Holmdel, New Jersey. During the program, we recognized the Babylift participants and April 2, 2005 was proclaimed "Vietnam Babylift Day" by the acting Governor of New Jersey.
Additional 30th anniversary events took place at the Pearl S. Buck Institute, the VAN Reunion, the Pan Am Reunion and at the National Vietnam Veterans' Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
In June, Jennie and I participated in the World Airways Babylift trip to Vietnam and we conducted a memorial ceremony for Heather and Byron in Saigon/HCMC. During the ceremony, we remembered all who died during Babylift. We sang:
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see".
I believe that one day all those whose lives were affected by Babylift will see one anather "face to face". I pray that children of future generations will never face separation from their birth families, especially due to war or economic injustice.
Thank you to all who sacrificed so much 35 years ago for the Vietnam Babylift children. You have a place in our hearts forever and we will never forget you.
Peace and Blessings,
Please click on the "Recognition" page for a special tribute to World Airways for their sponsorship of "Operation Babylift-Homeward Bound", the June, 2005 official trip to Vietnam for 21 Vietnam Babylift adoptees, their guests, and other invited guests.
The tribute includes several letters and a trip journal. In addition, photos of the trip are posted on the "Images" page, and Bob Shane's article about the trip is posted on the "In the News" page.