I was born during the last years of the Vietnam War and arrived in America a few years after that tragedy ended. My family escaped Vietnam in the dark of the night, crowded on a small boat with dozens of other desperate families. We floated on the South China Sea for days, surviving encounters with sharks and Thai pirates. I was 5 years old. America represented our best hopes to rebuild our lives. Today, as an American citizen, I still believe in its endless capacity to create hope.