Members of Sacramento’s South Vietnamese community protested outside of City Hall on Tuesday against a plan to recognize Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) as a possible sister city.
According to local CBS News affiliate in Sacramento KCRA, the plan to recognize a delegation from Ho Chi Minh City was dropped from the agenda. It is likely the protests contributed to omitting the controversial item from the meeting.
Outside City Hall, protesters reportedly help up signs reading “Ho Chi Minh, the criminal betrayal of Vietnam.” Ex-pat Minh Phan and member of Vietnam Veteran for America told KCRA that Vietnam’s government doesn’t have human rights, freedom or democracy. “We are refugee[s]. We lost our country and we [had] to leave our homeland,” Phan said.
The name Ho Chi Minh is synonymous with Saigon’s fall and invokes very dark memories for the tens of thousands of South Vietnamese who were forced to leave their country following its capture by the communists in the north, which subsequently resulted in the country’s “reunification.” Operation Frequent Wind was deemed the largest evacuation in history.
Vietnam’s government refers to the joining of the north and south as “Reunification Day,” although it is recognized by westerners and the nation’s expatriate community as the “Fall of Saigon.”
Southern California’s Vietnamese community still flies the South Vietnamese flag pridefully, alongside the American flag, nearly 40 years after Saigon’s fall.