April 30, 1975 – The Fall of Saigon
This marks the day when South Vietnam was finally conquered by North Vietnam. Saigon was renamed to the uglier name of Ho Chi Minh City. The beautiful yellow flag with three red stripes changed to the unattractive red flag with a long yellow star. But even uglier and scarier was the fact that communism won in Vietnam.
Something ironic I want to point out.. In France during 1919-23, a Vietnamese man by the name Nguyễn Tất Thành attended Versailles peace talks to reason with the Western powers to recognize civil rights for Vietnam, a country that was under the control of France at the time. He was ignored. Thanh then pleaded for help from the US president Woodrow Wilson, asking Wilson to help free Vietnam from France to establish it’s own nationalist government. Wilson said no. Nguyễn Tất Thành then went on to become Hồ Chí Minh.
I remember this day because every year, my dad always looked a little sad every April 30th. He would always look at me with his war torn eyes and remind me that this day was a terrible day for not only him, a soldier, but for Southern Vietnam and even the US as well. But he holds his head high, his tired but always warm face wrinkled from years of enduring war, struggle, loss and everything in between. With him, he carries pride in being Vietnamese. In his heart as well as mine, the flag will always be yellow with three red stripes and Saigon will always be Saigon.