Le Thi Duc
“All the adults in my family were still in Hanoi-the children were staying outside the city to avoid the bombings. At 10 or 10:30 on the night of December 26, 1972, when we heard the anti-aircraft guns and then the sirens we rushed to the shelters. I heard a big explosion and the shelter collapsed and buried us. In my shelter there were four of us: my older brother, my sister and her husband, and me. They all died-only I was rescued.
When I woke up my legs couldn’t move because of the rubble. My back was bent because of the weight of the debris. I was unconscious for six hours from the time of the explosion until I was awakened by the voices of the rescuers. I spent the next year in the hospital.
On that day, my father and younger brother, who had been staying in the countryside, came back to Hanoi to get food for the children. My father returned to the countryside but my brother stayed in Hanoi that evening and was killed. He was fifteen. My mother died too-they were in a nearby shelter.
There were many shelters all over the city. Every night for over a week when the sirens went off we headed to the shelters immediately. We were all very worried but we stayed in Hanoi to work. I was employed by the government.
When I returned to my home after I was released from the hospital, the whole neighborhood still lay in ruins. My home had collapsed. We lived in a tent and collected the bricks to rebuild our home. I didn’t marry after my sister died. She and her husband had four small children between the ages of two and six. I spent my time raising her children as my own. They are my children now.”