Reflection and Gratitude Key to Commemorating ANZAC Day
New Griffith local Paris Floyd shares a little of her insight into the effects of war in the lead up to ANZAC Day.
Paris Floyd and her young family have been in Griffith a year, but are now ready to settle down with the recent purchase of their first home. In the lead up to ANZAC Day, Mrs Floyd has shared a poem she wrote and a little of her story.
Born in Laos as part of the Hmong culture, she was just eight months old when her parents fled for their lives following the Vietnam War in 1975. The majority of the Hmong people had allied themselves with the French and Americans.
“They had very similar values to us,” Mrs Floyd said.
“The French and Americans believed in honesty, freedom and democracy.”
“So, when the Americans asked our tribesmen to help them fight, they agreed.”
After her parents were separated for ten years during the war, her father, a Commander Officer and CIA agent for the Americans in the Secret Army, sent two soldiers to bring her mother to him in Long Chieng, the military base responsible for disrupting the Ho Ching Ming trail and rescuing downed pilots.
“Mum trekked through the forest with her remaining daughter,” Mrs Floyd said.
“After the war, we escaped from Laos to Thailand because anyone associated with the Americans was hunted down like animals.”
Mrs Floyd’s poem, War Lullabies, is about her experiences of the war.
“For ANZAC Day, it is a reflection about not only what our soldiers did for our country, but a reminder to be grateful for what we have now, for our freedom, without war,” she said.
“Our soldiers had already fought the war for us and what we are left with presently, is to be kind to each other.
“When I think about war, I think about our soldiers standing between us and a bullet.”
Her family spent three years in Ban Vinai, a refugee camp based in Thailand.
“My family and I were saved,” Mrs Floyd said.
“We were saved by Australia.”
“We could have lived a life of poverty and been returned back to Laos into detention camps of slavery, torture and death.
“Australia stood between us and a bullet.”
Mrs Floyd said that the Hmong people living in Australia were very grateful that they can live in peace.
“For the younger generation, I wanted to equip them with a little history of how our multicultural society evolved, decisions made upon compassion and generosity,” she said.
“Knowledge empowers one to gain perspective on situations and create an empathy in communities.
“The poem is visual and graphic, but it is an illustration of what people went through in a period of war and now serves as a reflection of the freedom we have to exercise our potential.
“It is a reminder of how lucky we are to be able to live our best in peace. “Every day, I count my blessings.”
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