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Escape to Freedom MAG
I walked in the door, and my father asked me to sitbeside him.
"Dad, what's wrong?" I asked, but he didn'tanswer. We sat silently for a while; I knew something wasn't right. Then hespoke, and told me a story I could never forget.
"As I recall,"my father began, "hundreds of bombs were bursting in the air and on theground. Everywhere you turned, you heard people screaming. Some were praying,hoping they would make it, but really they had little hope of surviving. Bulletswere flying, passing my ears and just missing by inches. The night was filledwith light from all the explosions, and the land was filled with nonstop sound,but everything was silent in your head."
It was the middle of thenight, my dad continued his story, and he had packed everything for the trip. Mymother, father, sister and brother were all part of that devastating moment. Myfather was waiting for my uncle to arrive and see if it was safe to attempt anescape. The night was long, and the explosions were creeping closer. The four satin silence, waiting patiently for my uncle. They heard a knock at the door and myuncle appeared from the darkness, giving my dad the signal that it was safe. Mydad quickly placed everything in a small bag he carried on his back and handed mysister to my mother. He carried my brother in his arms and left the house wherethey had lived their whole lives.
They crept slowly along the forest floorbehind my uncle, slipping past soldier after soldier. My uncle gave a signal andthey stopped. There was a soldier in front of them, and they had to find adifferent route. My father found a path that was clear, so my mother wouldn'thave trouble crossing it. They took it slowly, step by step, crossing the path.Behind them was another family. One of the babies started to cry. The mothertried to calm the baby, but it wouldn't stop. A soldier caught sight of my fatherand yelled, "Stop right there or I'll open fire!" My father slowly gotto his feet and raised his hands above his head. He quietly told my mother tostay calm and get ready to run when he gave the signal. Before he did, my unclegrabbed a rock and hit the soldier across the face. He stumbled to the ground,and they quickly left.
It wasn't long before other soldiers caught upwith them. The mother of the other family was the first to be shot, and my fatherwitnessed her and her family's brutal deaths. My father was helpless. My familyescaped and continued on the long trip to their destination - the MekongRiver.
They walked to the edge, wasting no time. My uncle and fatherpacked some things in one bag, and the other goods in another to make it lighter.My mother wrapped my sister tightly to her back, and then my brother to myfather's back. My uncle threw the bags on his back and secured them tightly.Slowly they walked into the cold river until their feet couldn't touch andstarted swimming. They swam for a long time, and my mother became tired. She keptsinking under with my sister on her back. My father and uncle took each side ofher and slowly swam, stroke by stroke, until they reached Thailand.
Whenthey got to the shore in Thailand, they were taken to a refugee camp and givendry clothes, food and a place to rest. They lived in that camp for months andthere, my mother had my other sister. It wasn't long before my family had a bigbreak: My father was told they were going to America, the land ofopportunity.
First, they were sent to Pennsylvania where they lived withmy cousins who had been helped to escape. They lived there for a while and thenmoved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. My family has lived here to this day.
Iwill never forget my father's story, or stop appreciating what my family did.
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By Laurie T., Hopkinton, MA
Published by The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. - A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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