Friday, September 26, 2008


Family. I am fascinated by the word. What makes someone family? Is it birth? Blood? Love? Experience? If someone sacrifices for you, do you make them part of your family?

Surry invited me to a Montagnard birthday party a week or so ago. I am fascinated by how they can fill a kitchen with food that seems to effortlessly appear from nowhere. Our Montagnard host has a way of making you feel like the red carpet has been laid out just for you. He has the best smile, and shines when Surry walks up. "Hello, Doctor!" he says as they greet each other as brothers. Two people, raised in different countries on the other side of the world now greet each other in Raleigh as brothers. They hug like family.

My family and experience taught me that during events like a party, lending a hand, helping prepare the food, or doing dishes after meals is proper. Yet, I continue to find myself in a more male role where the decision-makers of the group want to talk. It is honorable and humbling to see one of the Montagnard leaders excitedly shake my hand at our introduction, obviously having learned a little about the project. They immediately want to jump into conversation about it to learn more and offer information. After eating they wish to stay in our company and ask questions, share ideas, and explain the way things are done in their family.

Yes, family fascinates me. We are born into family, raised by a family and go on to create our own families. We join families by marriage. And we make up our own, new families. We form families from experiences like performing together on stage, volunteering to help find homes for abandoned animals, and especially serving together in combat. This is the stuff of which films are made. It is the human condition with which I am obsessed.

There are so many people in my life that have adopted me, and I am so grateful to them for it. By birth I was given an amazing family, but lately have found myself in new families. This project, for example, is creating a family of people who are interested in our forgotten Montagnard allies--a group of people willing to offer their time, efforts and money to making this project happen so that others can learn the truth.

I have learned so much. I have so much to learn.

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