When Sylvia Nguyen thinks about her future, she also considers her family’s recent past.
Specifically, she looks to her parents’, who emigrated from Vietnam as teenagers.
“I do want to make them proud,” she said. “They want me to have a better life than what they have, like so many other immigrants.”
In 1975, Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith became one of four entry points for Vietnamese fleeing their homeland after the end of the Vietnam War. In that effort, dubbed “Operation New Life,” more than 50,000 refugees went through Fort Chaffee. While many moved to other areas of the United States, some stayed, like Nguyen’s parents, and created a thriving Vietnamese community in Fort Smith.