NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The founding board member of PeaceTrees Vietnam died on Aug. 14. Rae Cheney was 97 years old.
For 22 years, Cheney dedicated her life to transforming sorrow into service, building trusting friendships with the Vietnamese people, handwriting thousands of thank you notes, and speaking frequently with Vietnam veterans.
Her son, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Dan Cheney, died during a rescue mission in Vietnam.
At age 90, Rae traveled to Quang Tri Province, Vietnam to dedicate the Mothers’ Peace Library and Dan Cheney Kindergarten in honor of her son. She was greeted warmly by a Vietnamese mother who lost her two sons when the war passed by her village.
In Cheney’s words, “The moment Ms. Ho Ti Moan and I embraced each other in love and understanding, I asked myself, ‘Who could have ever dreamed this exchange of forgiveness would be visible for the world to see?’”
On its website, PeaceTrees said it had lost a shining light. “Rae was our moral compass and an inspiration to everyone … She embodied values that PeaceTrees stands for: love, compassion, healing, understanding, and welcoming to all.”
A Celebration of Life will be held for Cheney at Grace Church on Bainbridge Island, on Sept. 29 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow. To honor Cheney’s legacy, PeaceTrees Vietnam’s Board of Directors has established the Rae Cheney Legacy Circle. To learn more, visit peacetreesvietnam.org/rae-cheney-legacy-circle or call 206-441-6136. ■