Bernie “Doc” Duff
HEATHER’S WELCOME HOME
©Copyright 2006 by Bernie “Doc” Duff
Thirty years ago, my husband, Byron Michael Noone wrote that when our daughter, Heather Constance Noone, was placed in his arms at the airport, “Heather’s and my eyes met. I tried to communicate with words and gestures.”
Preserving the Memory of Vietnam Babylift
Vietnam Babylift was a humanitarian effort that took place in April, 1975, the last month of the Vietnam War, to transport young Vietnamese orphans out of Vietnam. Babylift included 26 flights and the transport of more than 2600 children to America, Canada, and several European countries. “They went in immediately, and did the right thing, regardless of the government’s position,” said VVAF Development Director Anita Uyehara. “It really was a selfless act. “Noone’s adopted baby daughter, Heather Constance Noone, was one of the youngest of the Babylift orphans, born in Feb. 1975. Heather departed Vietnam on a Babylift flight on April 5, 1975, and arrived in America two weeks later. Unfortunately, she was already critically ill, and did not receive the medical treatment she needed during the trip. She died on May 17, 1975. “She was sent half-way around the world, in a valiant attempt to save her life,” Noone remembers sadly. “I knew there was nothing I could do.” “I made a promise to her,” Noone said. “I promised her I would do whatever I could to make sure no one would forget about Babylift. It’s been my mission
Lana Noone was only together with her adopted daughter for a few months, but it was an experience that changed her life forever.
Noone’s “obsession” with Babylift began with the decision to adopt a Babylift child from Vietnam in 1975. Noone was one of the first pioneers to reach out to Vietnamese orphans, when American feelings on Vietnam and the war were varied and emotional.
“We decided to adopt a baby from Vietnam,” Noone said. “That’s how we got involved in it all.”
Shortly before she died, just weeks later, Byron wrote, “Our eyes no longer met. She had her eyes set toward Jerusalem.”
Those weeks were the beginning of my family’s Babylift story.
… So wrote Lana Noone: Operation Babylift