Oh Captain, My Captain - Pha Le

“People were crying all around me, but my mom stayed strong. ”

Photo by Sarah Stacke

Oh Captain, My Captain

by Pha Le

A Vietnamese family is forced to flee from their home to take refuge in an unknown land. 

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Extras From This Story


Pha and his father in 1974 when he was about one year old. Pha says: “We lived in a comfortable apartment in the resort town of Vung Tau. My father was a lieutenant by this time and had a great place in the officer area of the town.”


Pha and two friends posing in front of the playground put together by UNICEF in Indonesia, 1983.


Pha and his parents in California in 1985. Pha says: “Just the three of us, sharing an apartment with the photographer of this picture and two other men in Pasadena. 5 adults. One child. Two bedrooms. One bathroom.”


Pha’s entire family last year. Pha says: “My wife, my sons, my parents, my brothers and their fiancés. All together now.”