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Thank You, South Vietnam (Poem by Phan Huy MPH)

Thơ Phan Huy MPH
mien-nam-than-tien-300(Bảng tiếng Anh của Cảm Tạ Miền Nam)

It’s been a long time I wanted to say
To the wretched South land of my country
A candid word of appreciation
From the thousand-year-old north Vietnam.
I recall after the ‘reunification’
I went south into a land of fairy
A civilized lifestyle, a carefree spirit
A peaceful nation, a happy people.
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Vietnam ‘hurt’ by Senate bill commemorating ‘Black April Day’

tan-dung-bbcKIM MACKRAEL

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 04 2015, 10:12 PM EST

The Prime Minister of Vietnam has written directly to Stephen Harper to register his concern over a private member’s bill that would declare April 30 an official day to commemorate the exodus of South Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung warned in his letter that the bill presents a distorted version of Vietnam’s history and could damage the bilateral relations both countries have worked to build. The letter was provided to the Privy Council Office and delivered to the Canadian embassy in Hanoi in mid-December.

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“Journey to Freedom Day” BILL S-219 Adopted

2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
62-63 Elizabeth II, 2013-2014

BILL S-219

An Act respecting a national day of commemoration of the exodus of Vietnamese refugees and their acceptance in Canada after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War
Whereas the Canadian Forces were involved in the Vietnam War with supervisory operations to support the aim of establishing peace and ending the Vietnam War by assisting in the enforcement of the Paris Peace Accords of 1973;
Whereas on April 30, 1975, despite the Paris Peace Accords, the military forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front invaded South Vietnam, which led to the fall of Saigon, the end of the Vietnam War and the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Government;
Whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has reported that these events and the conditions faced by individuals in Vietnam, including deteriorating living conditions and human rights abuses, contributed to the exodus of approximately 840,000 Vietnamese people, who were referred to at the time as “Vietnamese boat people”, to neighbouring countries in the ensuing years;
Whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has reported that at least 250,000 Vietnamese people lost their lives at sea during the exodus of the Vietnamese people for reasons that included drowning, illness, starvation and violence from kidnapping or piracy;
Whereas the sponsorship refugee program in Canada, assisted by the efforts of Canadian families, Canadian charities, religious groups and non-governmental organizations, contributed to Canada accepting more than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees, among whom it has been estimated that 34,000 were privately sponsored and 26,000 were assisted by the Canadian government;
Whereas the major and sustained contribution by the people of Canada to the cause of refugees was recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees when it awarded the Nansen Refugee Award to the “People of Canada” in 1986;
And whereas April 30 is referred to by many members of the community of displaced Vietnamese people and their families in Canada as “Black April Day”, or alternatively as “Journey to Freedom Day”, and is, therefore, an appropriate day to designate as a day to remember and commemorate the lives lost and the suffering experienced during the exodus of Vietnamese people, the acceptance of Vietnamese refugees in Canada, the gratitude of Vietnamese people to the Canadian people and the Government of Canada for accepting them, and the contributions of Vietnamese-Canadian people — whose population is now approximately 300,000 — to Canadian society;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short title
1. This Act may be cited as the Journey to Freedom Day Act.

Journey to Freedom Day
2. Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the thirtieth day of April shall be known as “Journey to Freedom Day”.
Not a legal holiday
3. For greater certainty, Journey to Freedom Day is not a legal holiday or a non-juridical day.
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Statement on Canadian Parliament Attack

Ottawa-300October 22, 2014

My dear friends

I wish to thank everyone for their concerns, well wishes and prayers in light of yesterday’s attack on Parliament Hill. I wish to reassure you  that all Parliamentarians, including myself and the Prime Minister, are in good health thanks to the excellent work of first responders, police forces, and Parliament Hill security personnel who came quickly and to assist those of us who were close to the attack.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was killed – murdered in cold blood – as he provided a ceremonial Honour Guard at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa. Our thoughts and prayers remain also with the family and friends of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed earlier this week by an ISIL-inspired terrorist.

These attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are, by their very nature, attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us, Canadians, as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Canada will never be intimidated. In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home. We have every confidence that Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges. Together, we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us.”

Again, thank you for your thoughtful concerns. My family and I  join all Canadians in praying for those who have been touched by yesterday’s attacks.

Yours truly,

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo

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Vietnam Wall replica at Gilbert, Arizona

Gilbert’s Vietnam Wall replica finds support from Vietnamese community

Jonathan Reid, The Republic | 10:10 a.m. MST October 1, 2014

Sang Nguyen

Sang Nguyen, a South Vietnamese veteran, speaks of his time fighting “side by side” with American soldiers at unveiling of the Vietnam Wall replica.(Photo: Jonathan Reid/The Republic)

For Sang Nguyen, a South Vietnamese soldier who fought alongside Americans in the Vietnam War, Gilbert’s proposed “Wall” replica is a chance for him to honor those who fought and died trying to win his people’s freedom.

“We sometimes fought side by side for our lives,” Nguyen recalled in a statement at the unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica on Tuesday. “We hugged, jumped for joy when we defeated Viet Cong and cried sorrowfully when we lost a comrade.”

RELATED: Gilbert council considers Vietnam Wall replica

After the war’s dramatic conclusion with the fall of Saigon in 1975, Nguyen was sent to a labor camp for 51/2 years. The American government was successful in getting the Vietnam government to allow Nguyen and others in labor camps to seek refuge in the United States.

“Americans were open-armed to accept, resettle and support us when we first came to your country, and now our country,” Nguyen said. “I do not have enough words to thank you.”

He shared his story with about 100 people gathered outside the Gilbert Town Council chambers for the project’s unveiling. Operation Welcome Home, the group leading the effort to bring a permanent Wall replica to Gilbert, is raising funds and talking with the council about locating the project on town land. Some council members raised concerns about the $160,000 to $180,000 annual cost to maintain and operate the memorial. It’s unclear who would cover that.

Once organizers finish the final design for the replica, they will pitch it to the Town Council for a vote. This is expected to happen by January at the latest.

Nguyen is a member of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona, which in July reached out to Operation Welcome Home after reading about the project in The Arizona Republic.

Gilbert Councilwoman Jenn Daniels, a proponent of the project and member of Operation Welcome Home, recalled when the two groups first met.

“When they heard about the project all they wanted to know about is ‘how can we help?'” Daniels said.

The legacy of the Vietnam War has shaped the identity of South Vietnamese Americans.

While many Americans view the war as unnecessary and a failure, South Vietnamese Americans at the event were eager to show that the sacrifice was not in vain.

Kevin Dang, president of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona, escaped communist-controlled Vietnam in 1989. At the unveiling, Dang recounted his family’s struggle and expressed his admiration for American veterans and the South Vietnamese people.

Kevin Dang

Kevin Dang, president of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona, expresses his support and gritiude for the proposed Gilbert Veterans Memorial Wall replica on Tuesday, Sept. 30.(Photo: Jonathan Reid/The Republic)

“We, the younger generation, are forever indebted to our parents for their sacrifice and resilience in search of a better life for us in America,” Dang said.

The number of civilian casualties of the Vietnam War remains a subject of debate, but media reports have provided estimates around 2 million, including U.S. intervention in Cambodia and Laos.

American veterans in return expressed gratitude for the South Vietnamese involvement in the project, with veteran Roger Pollard presenting a ceremonial South Vietnamese flag. He said it was to honor the South Vietnamese and American soldiers who served and sacrificed during the war.

The Wall memorial would feature the names of the 58,300 American soldiers who died in Vietnam. It would be 80 percent the size of the original, 8 feet at its tallest and 360 feet long. If built, the Town Council decided it would be located outside the Fire and Police Administration buildings, across the street from Gilbert’s 9/11 Memorial. It would be the only permanent Wall replica in the western United States.

Among the project’s supporters is Cory Remsburg, the Afghanistan and Iraq veteran who was honored by President Barack Obama at the 2014 State of the Union.

Remsburg was not at the unveiling but wrote in a statement that he is “grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to those men and women who paid the ultimate price in an unpopular war.”

Operation Welcome Home is in the process of designing the replica, which is estimated to cost more than $5 million. Lisa Rigler, who is leading the effort, hopes donations will help cover the cost. The group is accepting donations at

Those looking to donate can also mail a check to the AZ Wall Project at 1760 E. Pecos Road, Suite 344, Gilbert, AZ 85295.


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