Large scale November medical mission commemorates 25-years of providing surgical care in Vietnam and celebrates the friendships forged during the inaugural Vietnam Mission in 1989
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — OPERATION SMILE — Unbeknownst to most Americans, it was a team of medical volunteers, which included Vietnam War combat veterans, that helped soften the contentious U.S.-Vietnam relationship 25 years ago. A groundbreaking humanitarian mission by Operation Smile to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries on 100 Vietnamese children in 1989, helped pave the way toward peace between the U.S. and Vietnam.
By request of President Ronald Reagan and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Vessey, Operation Smile went to Vietnam to help children and through those children hopefully help retrieve the remains of missing American servicemen. It was the largest group of Americans to visit Vietnam since the fall of Saigon.
As a result, these Vietnam veterans found healing in the very place that had been haunting their nightmares. “Vietnamese families saw their lives made whole by the people they once faced on the battlefield,” said Operation Smile volunteer and Vietnam veteran, Dr. Michael Solhaug. “I never could have imagined that returning to the battlefield to heal children would do so much to heal my wounds from the war.”
Twenty five years later, Operation Smile’s surgical program in Vietnam exemplifies the best of our work – a true partnership – and has produced tens of thousands of new smiles in Vietnam alone.
Operation Smile will commemorate that 25th anniversary of healing with an unprecedented mission at six sites simultaneously to operate on more than 700 children in one week. Several Vietnam veterans who forged important relationships on that 1989 mission will make the trip back. Through life-changing surgeries on children, these medical volunteers will continue their journey of healing from war.
More than 300 international medical volunteers from 23 countries will provide free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries across six cities from Sunday, November 16 – Saturday, November 22.
Bac Lieu City
Ho Chi Minh City
Long Xuyen City
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile is an international medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their local communities. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment, supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centers.
Sabrina Zimring, Operation Smile Global Headquarters
Director of Public Relations
+1 757-338-7731 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Operation Smile