The Power of Unity

By Khanh Vu

My name is Gia Khanh Vu and I am from Hanoi Vietnam. I am a sophomore at Emory University and I am majoring in Quantitative Science with a track in Economics.

Khanh Vu’s Essay:
Family holding hands together closeup by agilemktg1 

I am Khanh Vu, and I am a firm believer in the power of unity. Everyone must have heard of the phrase: “United we stand, divided we fall,” but what does it truly mean? We as human beings are fragile and vulnerable to the negative forces in our life as despair, desperation, and loneliness can easily overwhelm anyone when we are alone. One person might be weak; however, when a group of people stands by each other, they have the courage, strength, and teamwork to overcome the problems that one person would never be able to solve.

This does not only apply to us human beings but also the animal kingdom. A single ant would never be able to build a colony. The bees work together to bridge gaps when there is not enough room to fly. A lone wolf cannot bring down a herd of bison without being vulnerable to injuries or even death. Therefore, it is undeniable that unity is important for survival.  

In fact, unity has always been present in our lives ever since we were born. We were raised by the unity of our parents. The unity between us and the friends that we meet creates an unbreakable bond that leads to life-lasting friendship. Throughout my whole life, I was taught that independence is necessary for growth. Therefore, I tended to overcome problems on my own. When people offered to help me, I refused, thinking that I cannot be dependent on anyone besides myself. It was not until my sophomore year in high school that I truly learned about the power of unity.

During Christmas break, my Vietnamese friend Jason and I were flying back home to Hanoi, Vietnam. Due to my carelessness, we missed our flight in Chicago and were forced to stay in the city for an extra day to wait for a new flight. Although the airline did not charge us for the new ticket, we were stuck in Chicago without a roof over our heads. It was around midnight; the temperature outside was 10-degree Fahrenheit. The airport felt like a freezer, and all our winter jackets were in the luggage that we had already checked in. Both of us did not want to spend money on a hotel room, so we decided to stay at the airport that night.

I remember that all the restaurants were closed, and we were starving since we did not eat anything on the plane to Chicago. However, instead of being mad at me for causing him to miss the flight, Jason handed me a pack of chestnuts from his backpack and said: “This is all I have, but I think it will do us for the night.” As the night progressed, the temperature got even colder. I offered Jason the blanket that I was going to use on the airplane since I had a lot more layers of clothes on than him.

It was not a fun 8 hours, but that was one of the most memorable moments in my life. It was the power of unity that pushed us through that cold night. If Jason and I had fought over missing the flight, we would not have stayed through the night that easily. By myself, I am vulnerable and powerless against the negative forces in my life. Yet with the support of my friends and family, I know that I have the strength and courage to accomplish great things. Because when you choose to help others, others will also help you.