The Fall of Saigon: How Vietnamese community in Houston remembers fateful day

Rosie Nguyen Image
Monday, May 1, 2023
Vietnamese community remembers Fall of Saigon 48 years later
April 30, 1975 was the date that changed the fate for millions of people who caught in the crossfire of the Vietnam War, beginning a communist regime.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The day before the start of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage (AANHPI) Month is painful for many Vietnamese refugees and their families in Houston.

Sunday will mark 48 years since the Fall of Saigon, marking the defeat of South Vietnam's government to the Viet Cong and the beginning of a communist regime.

The historical event forced millions of people to flee Vietnam following April 30, 1975, and seek refuge in countries worldwide.

Some died at sea, and others who couldn't escape were forced into re-education camps, where they suffered torture and dehumanization by the Viet Cong.

Those who resettled around the world, including the U.S., have been mostly successful in reestablishing their lives, assimilating to new cultures, and becoming contributing members of their new communities. According to 2019 numbers from the Pew Research Center, Houston is now home to approximately 143,000 people with a Vietnamese heritage.

However, the resettlement didn't come without adversity, including trauma they would carry for decades. Many of these refugees witnessed unspeakable atrocities and suffered from the grief of losing everything they'd ever known.

RELATED: ABC13 shares stories of Vietnamese refugees who made all-or-nothing escape and rebuilt their lives

That's why every year, the diaspora of Vietnamese refugees across the world holds commemoration ceremonies on or near April 30, including in Houston.

On Saturday, dozens of people gathered at the Alief-David M. Henington Regional Library for a ceremony to remember the fallen, recognize the contributions of all who helped their native country and educate the public about the impact of that tragic day.

Elected officials like Congressman Al Green were also in attendance.

"For 20 years, from 1954 to 1975, the people of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States of America, alongside their allies, bravely fought against the spread of communism, particularly in Southeast Asia. This event honors the sacrifices made by the veterans of the Vietnam War and commemorates the last days of the Republic of Vietnam," organizer Dieuthao Nguyen wrote.

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