Songs Of Remembrance

Hung Vinh Nguyen, 77: Natalie and Nat King Cole's 'Unforgettable'


Annie and her dad, Hung (Harry)
Annie Nguyen-Habermann

Annie and her dad, Hung (Harry)

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.

"Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole was my dad's way of connecting with me.

After my parents split up, my dad gave me a CD with the song for my birthday (even though I had asked for MC Hammer's 2 Legit 2 Quit). It was his way of showing me what I meant to him. The song brought us together, even when my dad couldn't be around to watch me grow up.

In 2009, we danced to it at my wedding.

The song took on even more meaning last summer when my dad lost his life to COVID-19. As the president of the Sai Gon Gia Dinh Association in the Washington, D.C., metro area, he had spent the last few months of his life raising funds to donate face masks and shields to the local community, including senior citizens, nursing homes, and the Fairfax, Va., Sheriff's department — one more "unforgettable" act.

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I played the song for my dad following his eulogy. --Annie Nguyen-Habermann, daughter

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