April 30 marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, as Americans remember it — the day that the North Vietnamese army captured the capital of South Vietnam and reunified their country.

Wars, as the old adage goes, are fought twice: first on the battlefield and later in the remembering. While April 30 is celebrated as a national holiday in contemporary Vietnam, some Vietnamese expatriates refer to it as Black April, a day of U.S. abandonment and ongoing betrayal. Their war stories are now finding a voice in talented American writers who are complicating and indicting the blinkered remembering that has prevailed in the United States: Killing 3 million Vietnamese is an awful stain, while forgetting the 240,000 allied Vietnamese soldiers that died at Washington’s behest adds to the national shame. Their names are not etched in Washington’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and perhaps they should be, but for now they have their own site in Orange County, California.

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