|SPECIAL TO THE
Dau Nguyen of Arlington carries the Vietnamese
Heritage and Freedom flag
|SPECIAL TO THE
Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and city officials wave
the Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom flag during a
ceremony Saturday at the Phuoc Loc Tho Asian Market
Center. The event celebrated the unanimous recognition
of the flag by the City Council.
ARLINGTON - Hundreds of residents of
Vietnamese descent gathered Saturday to celebrate the City Council's
resolution recognizing a historical banner as the symbol of the
Vietnamese-American community here.
The flag features three horizontal red stripes running across a
golden yellow field and is known as the Vietnamese Heritage and
Freedom Flag. The flag has historical roots in Vietnam that date
back more than a century. In its present form, it was the flag of
the Republic of Vietnam.
"This flag has nothing to do with politics," said Andy Nguyen,
president of the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Tarrant
County. "We just want to make a statement."
The resolution does, however, stem from a local event with
political origins: In October, a Socialist Republic of Vietnam
government trade delegation visited Arlington to discuss business
opportunities here. Delegates also visited officials in Fort Worth
The visit drew protests from Nguyen and other area
Vietnamese-Americans who picketed the Arlington Chamber of Commerce
building during the meeting. They protested human rights abuses in
For Nguyen and the 500 residents and visitors who gathered to
celebrate Saturday, the resolution was a rebuke to the current
Vietnamese government and its red flag with a yellow star.
In the United States, more than two dozen cities and several
states have adopted similar resolutions recognizing what many
Vietnamese-Americans call "the yellow flag."
"Vietnam is at this moment a communist country," said the Rev.
Anh Tran, who is director of vocations for the Catholic Diocese of
Fort Worth. "The red flag with the yellow star, we can't accept
The resolution, adopted Nov. 11, found a warm supporter in Mayor
Robert Cluck, who as an Air Force surgeon treated service personnel
wounded in the Vietnam War.
"I'm very, very proud of this City Council," Cluck told the crowd
that filled the central foyer at the Phuoc Loc Tho Asian Market
Center in southeast Arlington. "This resolution was developed by the
entire City Council, and as you heard, it was voted unanimously,
nine to nothing.
"We are so proud that we were able to do this resolution for
you," Cluck said. "We understand the pain you've gone through."
Cluck was joined at the 10:30 a.m. ceremony, which lasted more
than an hour, by six council members. All joined in the applause and
flag-waving that followed a presentation of the colors by uniformed
veterans of the former Republic of Vietnam and a series of speeches
and songs in English and Vietnamese.
After the ceremony, Nguyen said he pushed for the resolution
because the flag now flying over Vietnam is a Communist Party symbol
that does not represent those who fled party control.
"It's like the Republican Party imposed their flag with the
elephant," in place of the Stars and Stripes, Nguyen