Playing Friday, April 3 at the Bowers Museum on 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana 92706
7:30pm – 9:00pm – Movie Screening
9:00pm – 9:30pm – Q&A
Tickets are $8, purchase here.
In war-torn Vietnam, impoverished orphanages swelled with cast aside babies and children, many the offspring of American GIs. They were the lost children, bui doi, the dust of life. International agencies like Holt International, Friends For All Children, Friends For the Children of Vietnam, Catholic Relief Service, International Social Services, International Orphans, and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation had already been in place to care for the children and arrange for their adoption and departure. As the war raged around them, many individuals risked their lives to make sure that the children would have a home of their own. As a desperate measure, Ed Daly (President of World Airways) commissioned his own flight and left Vietnam with 57 children on board. In the last days before the fall, time was of the essence. Volunteers worked under the most strained of conditions, with minimal supplies and food. With the impending Fall of Saigon only weeks away, President Gerald R. Ford ordered a $2 million initiative to airlift Vietnamese orphans to safety on April 3, 1975.
The issues that surround Operation Babylift are not without controversy. The first scheduled flight, a C-5A Galaxy cargo plane, crashed into a rice paddy shortly after taking off from Tan Son Nhut airport. Of the 330 passengers, 154 children and volunteers perished. Some criticized Babylift as a ploy for manipulating public opinion toward the war. Others felt it was America’s way of showing cultural imperialism. Documentation on the orphans was sketchy. Babylift was riddled with class action law suits – against Ed Daly, against the plane manufacturer, against the President himself.
In light of all this, Operation Babylift has been coined by many as “one of the most humanitarian efforts of all time.” In the course of a few weeks, over 3,000 orphans were taken to safety all over the world. More children were adopted in the US from Vietnam during this short interval in history than the total for the past 30 years. But the story is not over…