Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Call from the Past

Sometimes, you'd get a call in the middle of the day which caught you by surprise.  A call from a stranger who wanted to connect to his past.  It was a call that certified your work's impact. It tells you that your efforts made a difference.

This morning my phone rang. The person on the line said: "I watched your film BOLINAO 52 and I'm in it." I paused. Then he proceed to tell me that the archival video I used in the film was his own rescue and he wanted to know if there are more. Doan Ha was 5 years old when his boat was rescued by the USS Wabash. 

Video from the US Navy documenting the rescue of Doan Ha and his family.

He recently revisited that part of his history and found the men who rescued him. Doan first found a doctor who gave him an examination onboard the USS Wabash when they got rescued. Richard Bosshardt, MD described his perspective on the experience here.

Doan recreated the photo of Dr. Bosshardt giving him an oral examination.

Then Doan proceed to find the commander of the USS Wabash who made the decision to rescue them. Captain James Ryan who will turn 83 later this year made the trip to California to meet his family.

They had a reunion of course. 

I met with Doan and he shared his story with me. Many times, I viewed the people in the images of my film BOLINAO 52, I thought to myself, what'd happened to these people. It was one of those days that reaffirmed the work that I do. It is the magic of memories which connect people to their past and push them toward reconciliation.  It was a moment that I live for.

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