She has reason to believe freedom is grand

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 28, 2003

Her name is Yung Krall. She was born in South Vietnam’s rice rich Mekong River Delta in the 1940’s. Now she is a U.S. citizen and one of freedom’s foremost advocates. What a testament her life has been! I found her book A Thousand Tears Falling while browsing in a bookstore several years ago. I could not put it down after I started reading it.

Yung was nine years old when Vietnam was divided in half in the 1950’s after the Viet Minh (Communists) defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu. The northern half of Vietnam (North Vietnam) was given to the communists. The southern half (South Vietnam) was not. Yung’s mother, a freedom loving lady who detested Communism, remained in South Vietnam to raise her children. Yung’s father Senator Dang Quang Minh, a supporter of Communism, went to Communist North Vietnam and eventually became Hanoi’s Ambassador to the former Soviet Union. Yet, her father and mother loved each other very much; and Yung loved her father equally. That never changed. They just despised his politics and hated Communism.

Yung met U.S. Navy pilot John Krall while working on a U.S. Navy base near Saigon, married him and came to the United States before the end of the American Vietnam War in the 1970’s. Ultimately, her mother and sisters would join her in America.

After being safely inside the United States, Yung worked secretly with the CIA and FBI at great personal risk to her and her family helping to bring down a communist Vietnamese subgroup working to recruit members in the U.S. and abroad in Europe.

I contacted Yung and John at their Atlanta home after I finished reading her book. Immediately, she started thanking me and other veterans. I was dumfounded. I asked: &uot;Why thank us?&uot; She said: &uot;Don’t you realize that if it were not for you Americans I would not be free today!&uot; I had never thought of it that way.

Several years later Yung and John Krall came to Auburn University. Yung was the keynote speaker at a student seminar. The next day Yung, her husband John, my wife Martha and I attended an AU football game at Jordan Hare stadium.

Yung said

this was her first American football game. She brought along Vietnamese jerky for a snack. I told her that this was the first time I had eaten Vietnamese food at a football game. We both laughed.

I never did hear Yung shout WAR EAGLE, but that was okay because her favorite cry was: &uot;ISN’T FREEDOM GRAND!&uot;

Oh! By the way. Yung’s father as I have said was Hanoi’s Ambassador to the former Soviet Union; Yung’s son Lance is now an accomplished television actor in Hollywood. How about them apples!