By Natasha Tersigni, 38 Canadian Brigade Group Public Affairs
Thunder Bay, Ontario — For Thunder Bay Army Reservist Sergeant John Ta, wearing the maple leaf on his left arm is a reminder of the freedom and privileges that he enjoys daily in Canada.
Being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and a signal troop sergeant with the 38 Signal Regiment in Thunder Bay would not have happened without the harrowing journey of his mother, Suot Tran, who was able to escape the communist regime of Vietnam.
In the late 1970’s, Ms. Tran was among the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese that fled the harsh living conditions and deteriorating human-rights situation that personified the country following the Vietnam War and the Fall of Saigon. In order to break free of this life, many Vietnamese refugees took to the high seas in makeshift boats.
“My mother and sister were part of the Vietnamese refugees that the media referred to as ‘boat people’. They escaped the country in these rafts,” explained Sgt Ta.
The boat people were able to make their way to countries in Southeast Asia, including British Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. From refugee camps in these countries, most of the Vietnamese nationals were resettled in other countries, with the majority immigrating to the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Ms. Tran and her daughter were welcomed by Canada and settled in Thunder Bay, Ontario where Sgt…