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        First Days Stories: Thang Do and Andrew Ly

        Andrew Ly recounts his escape from Vietnam and rags-to-riches success story to his friend Thong Do, also a refugee, in this media gallery (audio, personal photos) produced for the American Experience First Days Story Project. Andrew left Vietnam in 1979. After a dangerous boat journey and nine months in a Malaysian refugee camp, he arrived in the U.S. with nothing. Yet five years later, he and his brothers founded Sugar Bowl Bakery, now a multi-million-dollar business. Andrew comments that he was one of the lucky ones, and that the others who didn’t survive the journey deserve respect for the courage they demonstrated in trying. Produced by StoryCorps for the WGBH American Experience First Days Story Project, part of the outreach and engagement initiative for the film, "Last Days in Vietnam." This resource is part of the American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam Collection.

        Find out more at the project's website.

        Audio Story - "We certainly were the lucky ones"

        Andrew Ly recounts his escape from Vietnam and rags-to-riches success story to his friend Thong Do, also a refugee, in this media gallery (audio, personal photos) produced for the American Experience First Days Story Project.

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        Photo 1

        Andrew Ly at the Pier in San Francisco, 1979.

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        Photo 2

        Andrew Ly's first apartment in San Francisco.

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        Photo 3

        Andrew with his evening ESL teacher Mr. Nelson, 1980.

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        Photo 4

        Andrew and classmate with ESL teachers Karen and Linda, 1980.

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        Photo 5

        Andrew at Golden Gate Bridge, 1981.

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        Photo 6

        Graduation from San Francisco State University, 1986.

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        Photo 7

        Andrew celebrates graduation from SFSU with his girlfriend Cindy. Andrew and Cindy traveled on the same boat to the U.S. but didn't meet until they were at college, 1986.

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        Photo 8

        Andrew's beach trip with Cindy, 1986.

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        Photo 9

        Cindy graduates from San Francisco State University, 1988.

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        Photo 10

        Andrew and Cindy's wedding, 1988.

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        Photo 11

        Andrew and Cindy with their sons Alan and Gordon at the Grand Canyon, 2012.

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        Photo 12

        Ly Family Reunion, 2012.

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