When my family arrived in Saigon in January of 1963, Vietnam was a country poised on the edge of disaster. Turmoil, violent demonstrations and political intrigue ruled the day. While my father established the first Armed Forces Radio Station in Southeast Asia (as featured in "Good Morning, Vietnam!"), I set about finding friends within the American community. The
sons and daughters of soldiers and diplomats became my new pals, bound together by our mutual experience. As teenagers thrust into the delirium of pre-war Saigon, we adapted in the only way we knew how––we embraced it as if it were the only home we would ever know. Late at night we haunted the streets and discovered that in Saigon, dreams and nightmares can exist side by side, separated only by the thin veil of civilization.
We were witnesses to a chaotic world of Viet Cong terror bombings, Buddhists burning themselves in protest and a coup d'etat that toppled the government in a blaze of violence. Through it all we maintained the teenage rituals of school, parties and dating. We also indulged in the sleazy side of Saigon––prostitution, booze and cigarettes, the black market, a run-in with a pedophile; Saigon was a dangerous place for a thirteen-year-old boy.
Hell, in those days Saigon was a dangerous place for anyone.
Once Upon A Time in Saigon recounts one military brat's journey from childhood to adolescence and the realization that home is where you find it.
Your challenge here is that you are dealing with something anyone alive in the 50's and forward has seen/heard one gazillion times. You're going to have to come up with things we haven't seen for this to be compelling. You haven't done that here.
Memoir is very very tricky because what is literally life altering for you the subject may not be very interesting on the page. That's pretty tough to say to people which is why the person universally loathed by agents at writinig conferences by agents is the nice sweet lady who wants to write about fire saftey cause her eleven multiply-handicapped adopted tri-racial, born again children perished in a fire.