The War Kids

December 28th 2014

The Vietnam War was terrible on civilians, especially the kids. Those who champion fighting cannot open their mouths without adding to the sum of human suffering.

Peggy sent two large boxes of clothing for me to take to the local orphanage, and it was just like her to do that. When the director started passing out shirts and pants and shoes, and socks, you should have seen the smiles all around.



Many of the children were missing body parts, but it didnโ€™t hamper their spirit or their enthusiasm.


Contributing to the children was a rewarding moment for Peggy and me, although at times I had to grit my teeth and look away. But I know that what we did left an indelible stamp on some impressionable clay, and that made it all worthwhile.

65 thoughts on “The War Kids

  1. Forrest, I can’t even comprehend some of the atrocicites you witnessed…but helping the kids in the orphanage was a wonderful gesture. Did any of them (the kids or adults) keep in touch with you after the war ended? cynthia

  2. Nice gesture Fenn. You Have pictures for just about everything. I wonder if you are asking us to take a picture while in the blaze as proof that we have found the search? RC.

  3. My mom used to buy presents for a poor family, even when it wasn’t in our budget, every year. Sounds like her and Peggy would’ve been good friends Forrest.

  4. The love you have, the compassion, and willingness to help those in need, is overwhelming… I wish I could say more, but sometimes words are not enough.

  5. I was station at NKP Thailand in 1969 with the 23rd TASS and on Christmas day some of us went to a local orphanage and passed out gifts to the children. That was the first time most of them had ever seen an American,but it didn’t take long for them to warm up. I still remember the look on their faces when we handed them those gifts.

  6. I watched part of a show on how those people lived underground and what their lives were like. My husband mentioned that he went to an orphanage in Saigon, helped clean it up and gave them food and clothing. Some of the kids were tied to the bed…In the midst of all the chaos, the glimmer of simple kind gestures most likely made an impression on them. God Bless the children…

  7. Mr. Fenn, you truly are an Inspiring person and it shows in everything you do. Your kindness and compassion is as profound as your business smarts and your nose for antiquities, and that is a rare quality. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Fenn.

  8. When you held those sweet little girls, for just a moment did you close your eyes and think of your two sweet little girls waiting for you back home?

  9. Thanks, Forrest for reminding us of what is truly important in this life and how we need to help others in some way every single day! God Bless those children who are adults now and their grand-kids!! God Bless you and Peggy Forrest. The Chase for Finding One’s Self is the biggest Journey we will ever follow and hopefully it will lead us to a place of Peace and Quiet to treasure for ever and always. This should be our true “Quest”: Happiness, Satisfaction, Love, and a calm true understanding of ourselves and others through our dedication to God, Family, Brotherhood and just plain undeniable Faith. Our Journey is more clear looking at ourselves through your eyes and your actions along our own pathway. Happy New Year and Hope you get to continue your Journey for a very very long time. Ms. Girl, Judy

  10. I have great compassion for not only the civilians, but people like you Forrest and Dal, that had to be on the front lines and see it first hand. Thanks for not only what you’ve done for our country in times of war, but for also helping those in need and promoting peace. LOVE IS THE ANSWER

  11. Breaks my heart to think of the civilians, the children in particular, who have been made to suffer as a result of a war they had no part in. A big THANK YOU to you and Peggy for trying to do something to help those children. And thanks to everyone today who are trying to do something to help children here and around the world.

  12. Truly an inspiration Mr. and Mrs. Fenn to us all. Sacrifice, love, humility and patience gives more meaning to my life than any amount of money could. It enlightens my heart to see that there are still good people on this earth. War is an ugly thing, and a burden not easily overcome. I keep wondering if we can ever get past it. You’d think that we’d have evolved as race by now. Thank you.

  13. OH, now I know I’m on the right track! It’s not the story, it’s what he ( f ) has SAID in the last few blogs that tells me I’m getting HOT!


  14. Compassion moves hearts and minds into action. Thank you Forrest and Peggy for stepping beyond yourselves to love and touch little lives!!

    You gave hope to war torn children. Orphans around the world and children in America’s foster care system are waiting to be held in someones arms for a moment – and a lifetime. The joy on their faces tells the story and a smile is the same in every language! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Doing anything is always better than doing nothing in situations that are out of our control. Forrest, you and Peggy stepped up and I know that meant a lot to the children then and it means a lot today by you sharing this story with us.

  16. Perhaps he’s nudging us to continue his good work. I like that my kids have to do 40 hours of volunteer work per year at school. They are learning to be volunteers. But, it really starts at home. Kids need to see their parents or their grandparents helping out others. It doesn’t have to be on the other side of the world, although it can be. My kids help clean the Santa Fe Watershed by picking up trash left behind, they mentor kids in science camps, they help at church. It’s easier for them to do these things because they’ve seen me doing it for years. And, the most interesting and eye-opening thing is that you receive so much more than you give!! My son and I spent 2 hours cleaning up the SF Watershed and we talked about the homeless people living below the bridges, we talked about the trash that is thrown away by thoughtless people. Those 2 hours spent with my son taught gave him more life experience than he bargained for! Also, my years in the Peace Corps changed my life in unbelievable ways.

    I hope that if we do have a conference this coming year that all these wonderful people on this blog who attend can do something for the community in which Forrest lives. There’s been enough bad press about us … let’s do one afternoon of volunteer work for the city of Santa Fe. If it all comes about, I’d be happy to organize it!

    I’m sure most (or all) of the people on this blog already are doing great things in their own communities. Why don’t you share with us …. I’d love to hear!

  17. Seeing this is a humbling experience. As americans we often overlook the grassroot stories of war. Thankfully there are people like you Peggy and Forrest that reach out and offer another perspective of americans.

    Your compassion earns you the title of Hero’s
    Wear it with pride.

  18. When I lived in Dallas I worked for a Vietnamese lady named Than Ti Lee. She told me the story of meeting an American doctor with whom she fell in love with. They had 4 children. Then things got so bad that she had to be evacuated. She came to America but her doctor was killed. She said that she and her kids left with just a suitcase.Then when she got here she wasn’t welcomed with open arms in fact people here wanted to kill her and her children. Time does take care of most everything. Sad that the soldiers weren’t treated much better. Still today some people deal with that war. I wish that next year will be better for us all!

  19. You Forrest are leading by example. What you’ve done is admirable. Everyone should give selflessly this is the higher path. Great work you and Peggy!

  20. during the Vietnam war ,a lot of soldiers got women over there pregnant,and some of those women gave these children up,as at that time ,no one over there wanted a half American/Vietnamese.I work with one such person,and thank god,he was adopted by a wonderful couple.he is a great friend to know.

  21. How difficult it mustve been for you Forrest to have to leave those children in such conditions.
    You have a big heart and I know it mustve ate at you. ;(

    So many people would love to have them too.
    i wish there was an honest program to place children like these with people who would love them and give them the best life.

    • What I think is really awesome is that ff has so many photos of himself doing these selfless deeds that he can share with us. Most people wouldn’t be selfless enough to think about the people from the future who might want to share in his memoirs.

  22. I understand your decision to retire from the military when you did, but too bad for us. You spent 20 years as warfighter, but it seems you also understood the sad reality of fighting a war. With your wisdom and compassion, I bet you would have made 4-star pretty quickly, and who knows after that – President Fenn, perhaps?

    “How unfortunate it is that world leaders are constantly bringing war and death to those of us who are doomed to follow their dictates.” This is one of my favorite lines in TTOTC.

  23. Rode bikes through Vietnam once
    met such a gentle peoples within Her folds
    fly away feeling more than I had.

    Rest in peace Cassius

Leave a comment here...