Flag Issue Stirs Emotions Among Biloxi Vietnamese-Americans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/11/04

Flag Issue Stirs Emotions Among Biloxi Vietnamese-Americans

Trong Nguyen looked fondly at old pictures of his younger days serving in the South Vietnamese military. Nguyen said "I fought under the Vietnamese flag.  My daddy fought under the Vietnamese flag.  My grandpa fought under the Vietnamese flag".

The Air Force Lieutenant spent six years fighting in the Viet Nam War. Then in 1975, South Viet Nam fell under the control of the Communist North. Like many soldiers, Nguyen ended up in a prison camp where he was tortured and came very close to being killed.

Nguyen said "They killed a lot of us. They take us out and just kill us, just kill us. They say just dig a hole, stand on the line, and they shoot you".

Nguyen was released four years later and escaped to the United States. He says even today, many Vietnamese citizens are still being abused and threatened.

Nguyen said "They have no human rights. Their human rights have been abused really bad".

That is why Nguyen finds the Communist flag so offensive. It's a red banner with a yellow star. So, he's spearheading a campaign, urging the city of Biloxi to only fly the old South Vietnamese flag if it's ever used in a public celebration or display. That flag is a yellow banner with three horizontal red bars.

Nguyen said "The Communist flag, it represents the Communist regime, and this flag right here, it represents our Vietnamese people".

Biloxi is just the beginning of Nguyen's passionate battle to raise awareness in hopes that one day, democracy and freedom will return to his homeland.

Nguyen said "We hope later the Communist regime will change, and this flag will over our country again, so the Vietnamese can be free and have human rights".

Nguyen and many leaders in the Vietnamese community plan to present their case to the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday. Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says he supports the push to officially recognize the South Vietnamese flag, and he will ask the city council to back it as well. Just so you know, Nguyen says about 50 cities and communities across the country have already passed similar policies.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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