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40 Years After The Fall Of Saigon, A Journalist Who Was There Reflects

A member of the CIA helps evacuees up a ladder onto an Air America helicopter on the roof of 22 Gia Long Street April 29, 1975, shortly before Saigon fell to advancing North Vietnamese troops. (Wikimedia Commons)
A member of the CIA helps evacuees up a ladder onto an Air America helicopter on the roof of 22 Gia Long Street April 29, 1975, shortly before Saigon fell to advancing North Vietnamese troops. (Wikimedia Commons)

Forty years ago today, the North Vietnamese army was closing in on Saigon. As they encircled the city, the Americans and many of their South Vietnamese allies were frantically evacuating.

The last American helicopter left early on the morning of April 30, 1975. It’s an image that has become iconic in the U.S. – that last helicopter about to take off from a rooftop, leaving behind crowds of South Vietnamese.

That same day, North Vietnamese forces captured Saigon, and the South Vietnamese army surrendered, bringing the 30-year war to an end.

Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins looks back with Jim Laurie, one of the few American journalists who stayed behind to cover the fall of Saigon, and the first days of the communist takeover.

Guest

  • Jim Laurie, journalist and broadcaster. He heads the video production and television consulting company Focus Asia Productions HK Ltd.

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